| 6°C Dublin

screen queen Glenda Gilson on modelling, mum life and bringing the curtain down on her TV career

Glenda Gilson reflects on her career, how she was changed by motherhood, and her plans for Christmas

Close

Glenda with her boys Bobby and Danny at home. Photo: Mark Condren

Glenda with her boys Bobby and Danny at home. Photo: Mark Condren

Glenda with her boys Bobby and Danny at home. Photo: Mark Condren

When Glenda Gilson announced recently on social media that she was leaving Virgin Media after 14 years it closed a long successful chapter of the popular Dubliner’s life.

Having started out as a part time model before becoming Ireland’s biggest name in the business she seamlessly sashayed into TV and has cemented her status among Ireland’s TV elite.

She is also one of the most grounded and sound stars out there and we love having her on the cover of Magazine+ (even if it has been years since her last appearance).

This time we insisted on her being joined in the exclusive shoot by her ridiculously-adorable sons Bobby and Danny in her gorgeous Dublin home.

Close

Glenda with her son Danny.

Glenda with her son Danny.

Glenda with her son Danny.

“I have been a model, a TV presenter and a designer. Those jobs can come and go. But I will always be a mum. And that’s my proudest achievement and most important title,” she gushes while grabbing her boys for another cuddle during our shoot.

“I modelled and then got asked to work on Bubble Hits, which was a 24-hour station, which got me a job covering maternity leave at Virgin Media.

“I then ended up working there for 14 years working with amazing people and doing amazing things. I loved it. But it had to come to an end at some point.

Close

Glenda with fellow Xpose presenters Cassie Stokes and Karen Koster

Glenda with fellow Xpose presenters Cassie Stokes and Karen Koster

Glenda with fellow Xpose presenters Cassie Stokes and Karen Koster

“Between those years and my modelling I have been in front of the camera for over two decades. So, I won’t be going away just yet. I have a few things on the go and we will see what happens.”

So, is the 41 year old upset while closing the book on her Virgin Media career?

“I’m very happy at the moment. I am healthy and well and I’ve a gorgeous family who are also healthy and well. We had some scary times during the pandemic, but we are all through it now feeling very happy with ourselves.

“Being on maternity leave and then going into the pandemic meant that I got loads of time with my boys. It was a complete blessing. I don’t want to go on about it because I am well aware that there was so much hardship in Ireland, but we were very lucky. I got to spend time with my boys. And Rob’s [waste management] business did well too.”

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Her current life is a far cry from the lifestyle she enjoyed when she first shot to fame here in Ireland, but while the champagne has been swapped out for baby bottles and the movie premieres have been substituted with play dates, Glenda has no regrets whatsoever.

“I am so proud to be a mum. I just take each day one at a time. Some days are great while other days can be a real struggle, but all parents go through that. You don’t prepare yourself for the guilt you feel about a lot of things.

Close

Glenda with pal James Kavanagh on Ireland’s Got Talent.

Glenda with pal James Kavanagh on Ireland’s Got Talent.

Glenda with pal James Kavanagh on Ireland’s Got Talent.

“I remember when Bobby was born and I became a mum for the first time…I had to call my own mum and just say ‘I get it now’. I think I may have even apologised for some of the things I had done decades earlier,” she laughs.

“I now know why she worried about me all those years. And still does to be honest. I regularly say it to her. It’s incredible how naïve you are to what a parent goes through until you are a parent. Then it all changes. Instantly.

“Bobby didn’t cope well at all when Danny arrived last year. He just wanted me to bring him back to the hospital and leave him there. He has this brilliant side eye that he does, and it can go right through you. He kept doing it to myself and Rob. But he is over it now and loves him.”

She quickly adds: “Well, most of the time. He refers to the playroom as ‘my playroom’ which needs to stop. And the pair of them regularly fight. But they are pals too.

“It’s weird. Bobby was all about throwing things around the place for years. But now he is more organised. Unfortunately for him, Danny then comes in ruins everything for him.

“They are typical boys. Danny always has a ball in his hand and Bobby tends to have Batman, a ball and a dinosaur in his hand. We don’t push them on them. But they always find them.

Close

Glenda and her husband Rob dressed up on Halloween with sons Bobby and Danny.

Glenda and her husband Rob dressed up on Halloween with sons Bobby and Danny.

Glenda and her husband Rob dressed up on Halloween with sons Bobby and Danny.

“Like every second child, Danny has grown up much quicker. He is trying to keep up with Bobby. He was walking at nine and a half months, so he’s flying around now. He’s a feisty character. I think a lot of second children are. Myself and Rob regularly find ourselves looking at him and think ‘oh my God’.

“I had a brother but there were five years between us. We always got on so this is kind of new to me.”

Close

Glenda on red carpet duty at the Oscars for Xpose

Glenda on red carpet duty at the Oscars for Xpose

Glenda on red carpet duty at the Oscars for Xpose

With Halloween done and dusted and Christmas just around the corner…and with two kids ruling the house…we wanted to know how big will she be going this festive season?

“I always enjoyed Christmas but having kids allows us to be big kids. It is hard not to get swept up in the magic each year. If you had seen our house at Halloween you’d know that we are going to go big on the decorations at Christmas time,” she chuckles.

“The boys loved the Halloween stuff last month so we will definitely go big on Christmas. The problem is that Bobby managed to pull down our Christmas tree last year and smashed all the decorations that I had collected through the years. I was devastated.

“So, I don’t know what we are going to do this year. We’re going to have to tie the tree to the wall at the back. We can’t put up a barrier around it because he will just climb over it.”

She continues: “We’ve no major traditions or plans. Four years ago, before I got pregnant, we went to Mexico for a holiday with my parents and then met up with pals. It was just so good. I would love to do that some time again but probably not this year. And I would never go away for actual Christmas Day.

“On the day itself I will host. I will pour wine. And I will stay in the playroom with the boys until dinner time. I will not go near the kitchen. That is Rob’s forte. If I did it, I would poison everyone. I am front of camera, remember?” she laughs.

“Rob is behind the camera doing all the hard work.”

“My mum and his mum also cook really well. So, I’ve got three super chefs around me. I don’t need to cook.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy