We caught up with busy mum-of-two Una Healy to talk family and life
after The Saturdays
Words Helen Brown
Una Healy is one busy lady. In between mummy duties she juggles a solo music career, the occasional presenting stint, partaking in school sports day, date nights and dinners with ex-band mates from The Saturdays.
Recently she teamed up with Cancer Research and Nivea Sun, adding yet another string to her bow, as skin care ambassador. Nonetheless, she is bubbly and glowing when we meet – all glossy hair and dewy skin. She looks much younger than her 35 years, without a wrinkle or dark circle in sight.
Despite being slightly sleep-deprived she’s blissfully smitten with motherhood. “I always imaged I’d have kids. I always wondered who my husband would be and what our kids would look like,” she says. “You don’t think it’ll be a reality until it actually happens but it was constantly in the back of my mind.”
Una found her Prince Charming in England rugby player Ben Foden. In true showbiz fashion, Ben got his agent to call Una’s record label to arrange a date and the rest is history. The two welcomed baby number one, Aoife, 5, in 2012 and married in a church ceremony in County Tipperary, Ireland not long after. Two year old Tadhg (pronounced Tiger minus the r) is the reason Una’s had a few nights of interrupted sleep this week, though she says she’s not fussed about missing her beauty z’s in the slightest.
The thing is, she’s been feeling a bit jealous of Ben recently. “He’s the fun one, the one that lifts them up and swings them onto his shoulders and I’m the strict one,” she says. “We went to Hyde Park at the weekend and they all wanted to hang out with him because mummy isn’t cool enough; they are going through a ‘daddy phase’,” she laughs.
And when Tadhg was having trouble sleeping recently, Una was more than happy to comply. “I don’t even mind getting up at 3am – I’m loving it. Although I was thinking ‘thank god he doesn’t ask for Ben’ because I’ve been feeling a bit rejected recently,” she jokes.
The Healy-Foden brood are a big fixture on social media and Una’s Instagram account is crammed with cute snaps of the foursome enjoying quality family time together.
With Una being this loved-up with mamahood, it’s hard not to imagine a third baby entering the scene. But she is sure her family is complete. “I was one of the first to have children amongst my friends but recently there’s been a whole load of them having kids, literally in these last two months,” she says.
“I’ve just been made Godmother and I love doting on my friend’s little girl, but it doesn’t make me broody, I’m happy with my two now. And it’s just so hard, dealing with those early days.”
Recently Una spoke out about the struggles she faced with post-natal depression after the arrival of Tadhg. “I didn’t experience it when Aoife was born,” she said in a recent interview. “It was a lonely time and I wasn’t helping the situation. I was moving to a new house, Ben had suffered an injury at work, and I had jumped back into work a lot sooner than I did when I had Aoife.”
For Una, talking – whether to her GP, to friends or to other new mums – was what got her through. And for someone who spent years surrounded by the close-knit companionship of fellow Saturdays members, having an established support network is important for the singer.
“I get very involved in the school. I’m not quite the PTA mum but I’m very aware of what’s going on and I try to attend every event and do everything that I can do to help.”
Indeed, just the day after our interview she’s off to get her hands dirty with a shovel and a spade to clear space for the school playground. Sports day was a couple of weeks ago and of course Una and Ben took part in the parents race. “I love that I almost get to relive my youth again and do all the fun family stuff. It just brings people all together,” says Una. “I’ve found that I’ve really bonded with friends and neighbours who also have children; there are always family gatherings to go to.”
Home life includes helping Aoife with her homework. The proud mum says Aoife actually looks forward to her spelling tests each week. “It’s mad to think that she’s only five and already they’re starting to read and spell, it happens so quickly – they’re like sponges.”
And Una’s work schedule? “It’s jam-packed. I love to keep myself busy with my music and work,” Una says.
She also secured a high-profile gig as a judge on The Voice, Ireland not long after Tadhg was born.
“I like to have a balance and set an example for the kids that I still have to go out and work,” she explains. Una’s debut album, The Waiting Game, came out earlier this year and she opened the main stage at Flashpoint Festival this summer.
“I’ve branched into a country direction with my music and I’m really enjoying at the moment,” she explains. “It’s a little bit more flexible now I’m doing my own thing.”
With each Saturday having set sail on solo adventures, a reunion seems a long way off. “I get asked constantly” Una laughs. “Recently we had dinner together and it did not come up, not at all. So it’s not on the cards but hopefully in a few years it might be.”