As the latest series of The Great Celebrity Bake Off comes to a close this Sunday, four more contestants will be hoping to impress judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith to win themselves the coveted title of Star Baker.
While the show follows the same format as the usual series, as it includes a baking challenge, a technical challenge and finally a showstopper challenge, the Celebrity edition has the added bonus of also helping to raise money for the Stand Up To Cancer appeal.
This week, the four stars competing are Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden, The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades, comedian Mike Wozniak, and OK!’s very own columnist, the indomitable Judi Love.
While fans may recognise her best for her role on Loose Women or from reading her irreverent take on life in the pages of OK!, Judi’s life away from our screens is a whole other world.
Here, we take a closer look at her life off screen.
The Early Years
Very much an 80’s child, Judi Love was born on June 4th 1980 to Jamaican parents in Hackney, London.
The youngest of five children, Judi was never short of someone to talk to and discovered her penchant for putting people at ease with her easy going and friendly personality at an early age.
Growing up in around East London, Judi went on to study for a degree in Community Arts and Social Science, and even later completed a Masters in Social Work.
It was while studying at the Tavistock Institute, that Judi first began performing, as her first comedy set was performed as part of a module for one of her classes, and showcased the comedic side of caring for her mother, who sadly died in 2009 after battling with dementia.
Having discovered her own unique flair for comedy and clear ability to bring a smile to the faces of so many, Judi began performing stand up routines, before officially making her professional stage debut in 2011 with the critically claimed show Laughter is Healing.
From there, Judi went from strength to strength, and even hosted the London Critics Circle Awards back in 2019.
Many fans will know her best for her role as a Loose Women panelist however, after she joined the team in 2020 and has been at the forefront of a number of moving – or sometimes even hilarious – discussions over the past three years.
In one particularly poignant but memorable segment of the show, Judi opened up about her life prior to fame, as she confessed that she had once struggled raising her loving family when they were young as she tried her best to raise her two children alone on a zero-hours contract.
This was especially tough at Christmas, when she could barely afford to celebrate with them the way they deserved.
She confessed to viewers: “Christmas came, and I had something like £87.
“I had these two kids, I had the bills and my debts that accumulated from just trying to take care of my kids. I wasn’t out partying … I just wanted to look after my kids.
“My mum has passed by then, so there was no, ‘Mummy, can you square me at 50’ or whatever. It was just really, really frightening.”
Thankfully, with some help and support from a loan firm, Judi was able to get a handle on her debts and her life back on track, but he never forgot the difficult situation she was in, with her honest admission also helping to offer solidarity to others who were in the same situation now.
Alongside her role on Loose Women, Judi has also showcased her talent on a number of reality shows too, including the 2020 edition of Celebrity Masterchef and later on series 13 of comedy challenge show Taskmaster.
This week, she will take on the Bake Off tent as she hopes to wow the judges with her baking skills – something that may not be an easy feat, given that the star hasn’t baked for five years!
She told the Daily Star newspaper: "I've made the odd sponge cake. The last time I baked one was about five years ago. I'm definitely not a baker."
Away from her bubbly on screen persona, Judi is a proud mother to two children, a daughter and a son, who she has raised alone since their infancy.
The TV beauty currently lives in a stylish home in East London, with her appearances on Celebrity Gogglebox over the years having revealed the chic interiors to fans, who couldn’t get enough of the impressive pad.
One standout feature of the home is a cosy living space with plush cream sofas decked with orange cushions and sage green walls.
Meanwhile a bookcase laden with plenty of tomes and knick knacks offers the voracious reader a smorgasbord of choice when it comes to selecting her next novel to read.
Regularly joined by her close pal and fellow Loose Women panelist Charlene White, the pair have frequently shared their infectiously funny TV commentaries on the Gogglebox sofa.
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