The Duchess' Katherine Ryan admits to boob ops and Botox – but hasn't had 'anywhere near' as much work as people think
KATHERINE Ryan has built a reputation as a brassy, blonde comic who is unafraid of talking about her boob job.
But in her debut TV sitcom, she realised she might have gone too far after writing a sex scene for herself.
Katherine, a staple of comedy panel shows such as Mock The Week and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, stars in The Duchess, which looks to be Netflix’s answer to Bafta-winning Fleabag.
Like Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s BBC hit, the series revolves around the complicated love life of an independent-minded woman and contains plenty of adult humour.
Katherine’s character is a single mum who will go to any lengths to provide a sibling for her daughter.
The theme is not too far from her real life either, because she looked into getting pregnant via an anonymous sperm donor so that her 11-year-old daughter Violet would not be an only child.
The full-on show means Katherine, 37, has put herself out there for viewers to see — including that intimate bedroom scene.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the actress tells how the moment came back to haunt her.
Katherine reveals: “When it came to actually filming, that was difficult for me. I was definitely laughing a lot. Any time I am uncomfortable, I laugh.
“I haven’t watched the sex scene back. That’s not my business. I left all the editing to the production team and editor.”
It is a surprising move, as Katherine was also a producer on the show and most actors insist on full creative control over their intimate scenes.
But she is a performer who likes to do things differently.
With The Duchess, she wanted to reverse the old-fashioned sitcom cliche where the “poor put-upon woman” waits for the male lead to sort his life out and evolve into a suitable life partner.
In the show it is Katherine’s self-obsessed character who leads nice-guy boyfriend Evan a merry dance.
The sex scene was written to demonstrate how he would “jump through hoops to please this really insufferable woman”.
Waiting for a loser boyfriend to become Mr Right is something Katherine understands all too well.
She says with a smile: “I am so tired of seeing women hanging on for scraps in a relationship.
“Many of us do that. We sit at the slot machine and we get a few quarters once in a while — you get just enough back.
“My relationship advice is that jackpot will never come. Walk away from the slot machine.”
Two years ago Katherine’s search for the right man ended when she was reunited with her childhood sweetheart Bobby Kootstra while making an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in her home country of Canada.
The couple had dated when they were 16 but split up when he found someone else.
Once they got back together, Bobby proved straight away to be the perfect partner she was looking for.
Katherine explains: “He is the one you don’t expect. It is just smooth-sailing and honesty.”
Swerving a traditional wedding, they entered into a civil partnership at the end of last year and now live together on the outskirts of London.
In The Duchess, Katherine’s character endures a hate/hate relationship with her daughter’s father, a brilliantly written former Irish boyband member called Shep, played by Rory Keenan.
In reality Katherine enjoys an amicable relationship with Violet’s dad.
The inspiration for the bitter feuding in the show was her parents Julie and Finbar, who split when Katherine was a teenager.
She explains: “Everyone is the bad guy in the wrong relationship and that’s what I learned from my parents’ very tumultuous split — that neither one of them is a bad person, but together they were wrong.”
Just like her on-screen daughter, Violet is well-behaved and the centre of her world, with Katherine saying she is her “best advert”.
It was the need to earn extra cash as a single mum that drove the comedian to do more stand-up.
'EMPTY NEST SYNDROME'
That led to a “unique upbringing together” where the pair enjoyed an intensely close relationship.
Now, though, her daughter is developing friendships of her own.
It was an “early empty nest syndrome” that led Katherine to consider having a second child.
She says: “I thought to myself, ‘Do I want another baby or do I just want to do that all over again?’
You never come to the end of your life and wish you had fewer children
“I would love to build a time machine and live my relationship with my daughter in a groundhog-day loop.”
With people reminding her that her biological clock was ticking, she reveals: “I did explore sperm donors, though I never went as far as using it or trying.”
Katherine then reconnected with Bobby and they decided to try for a baby together.
Tragically, she discovered during a routine scan for a pregnancy in February that she had suffered a miscarriage. But she is hopeful of becoming a mum again.
Katherine says: “You never come to the end of your life and wish you had fewer children.”
Her next stand-up routines are sure to be very different from the Glitter Room and In Trouble shows that she recorded for Netflix.
She says: “My last tour was about going it alone, my relationship as a single mother.
"As soon as I released Glitter Room I was married four months later and there are loads of hilarious implications.”
Bobby and Violet both trust her to separate just enough fact from fiction that their private life isn’t exposed.
Even if viewers do confuse the real Katherine with her sitcom character, who shares her name, she is not concerned.
The comic says: “I never worry about that. It’s not my job to think about how I am viewed.”
It may go some way to explaining why the self-declared feminist has spoken so warmly about her time working as a waitress for Hooters, a bar chain where female staff wear skimpy clothes.
On stage, she’s continued to win over fans with her good looks, sporting high heels and dyed blonde hair after having her breasts enlarged.
But the wrinkle-free star rebuffs claims she has had lots of work done to her face.
She explains: “I haven’t had anywhere near the amount of plastic surgery people say I have. I get Botox and fillers.”
Yet her advice is: “When you’re older you need to find the best plastic surgeon.”
Katherine is well known for her colourful style, which she says is meant to show how powerful single mums can be.
She says: “I will often wear an outfit which will confuse a man.
“They will say, ‘What is that jacket, I don’t understand those shoes?’
"And I will say, ‘Nothing I wear is for you or your gaze’.
"Everything I do is for like-minded people and women and it is very intentional, especially because I see a lot of single mothers portrayed as a mess on screen.”
Making a TV show with US firm Netflix does not mean Katherine is planning to make a return across the Pond.
She is a confirmed Anglophile who plans to grow her career here.
She says: “I love living in the UK. I don’t feel I would ever want to live in America.
“Your stand-up comedy audiences are absolutely the best in the world. Pub culture keeps them alive.”
Despite the ever-changing lockdown restrictions, Katherine hopes to be able to get out gigging.
She says: “The circuit has just been decimated by lockdown and theatres are closing and I am heartbroken to see that. I hope it can come back.”
- The Duchess launches on Netflix on Friday
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