Inside my wild life as Jeremy Clarkson’s girlfriend & dramatic moment Tom Cruise proved he’s a real hero on Top Gear set | The Sun

FOR Phillipa Sage, partying with prime ministers and languishing on lavish yachts became the norm while dating Jeremy Clarkson.

Here, to mark the release of her new book, The Wonderful World of Jeremy Clarkson – My Life on the Road with Jeremy, she shares an exclusive extract from her life on the road with the ex-Top Gear host with The Sun.

MY working life was a decadent, never-ending world tour with Top Gear Live in private jets, helicopters and superyachts.  

On one of my first dinners with Jeremy, he claimed to have turned down Madonna to spend the evening with me.

It proved to be true because Clarkson has a social life with some of the most powerful, famous and wealthy people in the world.

Once we were officially a couple we spent weekends at country estates, partied and holidayed with media moguls and members of parliament, including prime ministers, film stars, pop stars, lords and ladies – even royalty.


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There were no polystyrene cups or dingy backstage smoking dens. We dined at the top tables, drank the finest wine, flew first class all the way, and holidayed on private islands.

I was honoured and humbled to be accepted into the extraordinary world of Jeremy Clarkson.

After we had been outed as an item, Jeremy loved me being at the Top Gear track and studio for moral support.

Studio day, when the team filmed with the live audience and filmed ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’, was always full on.

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Jeremy, James and Richard would get there first thing in the morning and go through the script, making any changes and rehearsing.

The ‘stars’ would then spend a good few hours being trained by The Stig out on the track before they put in their timed lap.

The more competitive the stars were, the more time they tried to persuade the crew to give them to practise.

Tom Cruise's real-life action hero moment

I was lucky enough to meet Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz – both incredibly grounded people.

When Jeremy introduced me and was stumbling over his words as to what to call me – girlfriend, partner or whatever – I said I was his mother. They all roared with laughter.

There was a classic Tom Cruise hero moment when a gust of wind took out a gazebo.

As it lifted off, Tom was first on the scene pulling it back.

It was one of those moments that kind of froze in time as we all stood back in slight shock that he would bother with such a menial but nevertheless heroic task.

Everyone was slightly embarrassed that he’d reacted the quickest and got there first. He is a legend.

It was one of those moments that kind of froze in time as we all stood back in slight shock that Tom Cruise would bother with such a menial but nevertheless heroic task

Tom and Cameron said that they had had the best day and were reluctant to leave.

Their huge entourage was not so keen to stick around as they had to get them to the Knight and Day première in London.

That was an epic day in Top Gear history. The boys, their legendary producer Andy Wilman and the crew were so chuffed.

They couldn’t quite believe that the show had achieved such a status that they could get A-listers to battle it out on track and not want to leave.

I also had the pleasure of watching James, Jeremy and The Stig rip up Twickenham’s hallowed turf playing ‘car rugby’ with Kia Ceeds being used as speedy backs, while up front, Kia Sportages served as the hard-man forwards.

The Stig was the referee, in a police car, of course.

The power the show had towards the end of Clarkson’s reign was incredible.

'Never drink with Chris Evans'

BBC TV crew parties were nowhere near as glamorous as our World Tour shenanigans, but just as much fun.

One started out in a rather dingy – though hip – bar in Shoreditch, which Mr Clarkson was most disgruntled about because our private room was poorly lit, uncarpeted and the drinks were served in plastic cups. His lordship was not impressed.

But his mood got way better when someone discovered a door linking us to another private party, which turned out to be Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s production company.

Their room had a bowling alley!

Both parties merged and it was soon discovered that bowling fuelled by alcohol is a lot of fun until your girlfriend – me – is doing rather well at it and getting a lot of attention. Then it’s time to leave.

The following year we merged with The One Show’s festive night out, hosted by Chris Evans and Alex Jones.

Jeremy and James got chatting and I was introduced to everyone. Chris and Alex had delicious-looking chocolatey-coloured cocktails, espresso martinis.

A day later, when looking for a lip gloss, I found, to my horror, that in an effort not to spoil the taxi we were in I’d thrown up in my handbag

I recollect that Richard was there – I think. What I do remember was Chris coming back from the bar with a huge tray of multi-coloured shots, which he gifted to us all.

A day later, when looking for a lip gloss, I found, to my horror, that in an effort not to spoil the taxi we were in I’d thrown up in my handbag!

The lesson here is: DO NOT go out drinking with Chris Evans.  

Speed demon to Farmer Clarkson

Jeremy, as you all now know, has a farm in the Cotswolds.

He always claimed he’d bought it for us because he needed something to do when we were on one of our breaks.

The farmland, all one thousand acres of it, would be a great place to escape.

I liked the extensive views beyond the garden’s drystone wall over the rolling Cotswold countryside beyond but, in reality, the property was really run down.

It hadn’t been lived in for years and reminded me of Bleak House, set on top of a hill, one of the highest and coldest points in Oxfordshire.

Jeremy used to dream of having an empty diary and being able to just potter in the garden

I did actually love the original house and would have liked to have given it an overhaul to turn it into a comfortable family home.

But Jeremy had much bigger plans. While I grew to love them, I always had concerns about being alone in an enormous house atop a freezing wasteland, while Jeremy was off gallivanting around the world.

We loved spending time there, plotting and planning how things would be laid out, where I could keep my beloved horses and other furry and feathered friends, and where Jeremy could grow vegetables.

He used to dream of having an empty diary and being able to just potter in the garden.

Jeremy and I had a lot of fun ‘playing’ at the farm, clearing paths, discovering streams, trees and plants, and messing about with his numerous motorised toys.

The seeds were definitely being sown for the launch of Farmer Clarkson.

Jeremy and I planned to camp out at the farmhouse. He’d arranged to get a new bed delivered with duvet, pillows and all.

I had packed my car with an essential survival kit: teabags, milk, sugar, kettle, along with a hoover to tackle all the dead flies which decorated the whole place, including the bath.

It was actually great fun, and Jeremy said there weren’t many girls that would endure this. I think he was right!

In fact, I think I really might be the only one who is prepared to hoover flies out of the bath before filling it with water from the kettle, then tip-toeing carefully on the clean patches of carpet before donning my party dress and high heels.

Jeremy enjoyed just ‘camping out’ like this, as long as he had access to Lord and Lady Bamford’s organic farm shop, which supplied his favourite rosé wine and ‘brown food’, as he called it – pies, sausages, beef and bread. Then he was very happy.

We had several low-key shooting parties and Jeremy even extended his generosity, which he rarely did, to the Top Gear crew.

To their joy and amusement, they were joined by Richard Hammond, who turned up in his Dakar Rally yellow Land Rover Defender, which of course Jeremy ripped into him about, just a tiny bit.

He claimed his favourite day ever was one we spent with two large tools – not James and Richard – but ‘Kangos’, giant, power hammer-drills, weapons of mass destruction for chipping away masonry.

The pair of us took great satisfaction in drilling away, competing with each other to get the largest piece of render from the barns to hit the floor, exposing the beautiful Cotswold stone behind.

There was always a party to attend and in a strange act of defiance, he insisted on going to a posh summer party fresh from using his Kango, covered in masonry dust.

To be fair, we didn’t have any hot water at the farm and he said I could get a shower at our host’s house, but he was determined to stay in character as Bob the Builder, covered in demolition debris.

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If anyone could get away with going to a high-society summer party looking as if he’d just survived Armageddon, Jeremy could.

Phillipa Sage: Extracted from The Wonderful World of Jeremy Clarkson – My Life on the Road with Jeremy by Phillipa Sage, published by Ad Lib on July 21, price £8.99.

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