When I was growing up, there was no Christmas – at least, not one that was recognised in our household. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we were taught that it was a dressed-up pagan festival that had nothing to do with the Bible and should be avoided. At school, I’d even be hauled out of any Christmas assemblies and made to feel alienated from the other kids. When the big day came, my family just went out knocking on doors as usual, looking for souls to save. I’d skulk behind them, praying that none of my schoolfriends were on the other side of those doors. To Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christmas is ‘worldly’. That is to say: a bad thing.
I left all this behind as a teenager and my life is now, well, more ‘worldly’. I’m married to Jamie Vardy, captain of Leicester City FC, and am mother to five children. My eldest has just left for uni and my youngest just started daycare. I never expected to lead a life so heavily documented by the tabloids, or to be invited to compete on shows like Dancing on Ice. I certainly didn’t expect what became known as the ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial. If you care, you’ll know the details. If you don’t, I’ll spare you: thinking about it is a total waste of time and energy. All I’ll say is that I know the truth, as do many others. Anyway I’ve had more than my fair share of limelight over the years. Whether you want it or not, it gives you a platform. What matters, I suppose, is what you do with it.
This year, I made a television documentary exploring what I have come to see as the controlling and often-abusive culture of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Until I was 15, my whole life was based around its beliefs.