Natasha Kaplinsky – who has become Britain’s most paid news presenter – has always been a bit of an outcast. She comes from a family that was political refugees and her father was a supporter of the ANC.
She has always had a knack for making enemies. She has a talent for catfights and hissy fits, as well as a feisty personality that makes her hard to live with, according to one former colleague.
In 2007, she made a big move to Channel 5 with a PS1m-a-year deal. It was a career move that boosted her profile, and she quickly became Britain’s highest-paid news presenter.
But her popularity waned, she fell out with her boss Kay Burley and was seen to be spending more time in Brighton than at her studio in London. Then came the news that she was being poached by Sky, where she would become its most popular presenter – and the highest-paid woman in the industry.
It took some tinkering to turn Kaplinsky into the successful newsreader she is today. She started at Meridian and then stepped up to the role of lead presenter at ITV’s London Tonight, where her boss Lloyd Bracey spent hours coaching her on how to make an on-screen impression.
Once she had moved to the Sky News desk, a former colleague says she fell out with her boss Kay Burley because she “fell out of love with the job” and was “just not happy”. She allegedly sent an email to a friend saying: “I’m going to have to leave you now”.
Then came the shock news that she had been injured in a boat explosion off Corfu last year while on holiday. It left her and her daughter Angelica with severe facial burns. Her husband Justin Bower, their son Arlo and her mother escaped injury.
Her story is a sad reminder of just how vulnerable the modern world can be. She has since removed mirrors from her house and is undergoing a form of therapy to help her recover from the trauma she suffered.
After her accident, she spent months in a specialist burns unit before she was flown back to the UK to live with her family. She now lives with her husband and daughter in Somerset, where she has a cottage.
She has also been working for Barnardo’s and is an ambassador for Save the Children, among other charitable organisations.
What’s the reason she has managed to become the highest-paid news presenter in British TV history?
The answer may lie in her innate talent for making enemies. But her drive for success means she is never satisfied with her lot, so she constantly pushes herself to the limit.
If she wasn’t so good at being a professional, she might have chosen a career that would have made her more comfortable. She might have gone into teaching or social work, instead of pursuing a media career.