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Marriage secrets: Jay-Jay Harvey bares her soul

The radio host bravely exposes all
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For most of us, the thought of stripping off for a photographer would be something of a terrifying prospect, but when Woman’s Day gingerly asks Jay-Jay Harvey whether she’ll pose nude for a fun photo shoot, the answer is immediately yes.

After all, it’s the perfect way to promote her new book, which sees the radio star reveal the naked truth about her crazy career – as well as her secret separation from her husband and long-time The Edge co-host Dom.

But in the minutes following her enthusiastic acceptance, there is a flurry of emails. “I warn you – I don’t have my dancer’s body any more,” the former Dancing with the Stars contestant writes, following this up with, “I hate my body,” and, “I’m currently eating a pie.”

However, on the day of our shoot, Jay-Jay, 42, has no obvious inhibitions, flashing her boobs and flesh-coloured G-string at our team before cosying up in front of the camera with her hubby, 43, who is completely in the buff and seemingly even more comfortable.

Amid the raucous laughter, it’s hard to believe the bubbly blonde ever had any nerves about our shoot. “Oh, those emails were just to warn you it wasn’t going to be pretty,” grins Jay-Jay. “I’ve gained 7kg since Dancing with the Stars, but I don’t mind being naked – I’m actually more insecure with clothes on because of the bits that hang out of them.”

And getting her gear off for our photographer was a breeze compared to writing her second book, Life on the Edge, which details a lifetime’s worth of controversial media moments and sets the record straight on a multitude of rumours.

“It was so stressful,” confesses Jay-Jay, who hosts The Edge’s award-winning breakfast show with Dom and Clinton Randell. “My job is so full-on that it’s hard to fit anything else in, let alone write a book, and when I get stressed, I need to be alone. I need to get away from everyone and everything.”

Six years ago, Jay-Jay was diagnosed with depression and the pressure of her book deadline threatened to bring on another episode, so she did the only thing she could think of to stop it. For nine months, she moved out of the Auckland home she shares with Dom and into a rented apartment near their office.

They continued to work together every day, regularly shared brunch and dinner, and continued to spend family time with their 13-year-old nephew Seven, who they have raised as a foster child. But somehow stories emerged that the couple of 17 years had secretly broken up.

The morning’s laughter is a distant memory as Jay-Jay, now fully dressed and in serious mode, tells us, “People had seen me coming to work at a different time to Dom and I was hearing so many rumours. It was like Chinese whispers. I wanted to go on air and talk about it so they’d shut up.”

“But I wasn’t so keen,” adds Dom. “We’ve been open about so many things, like our family adoption and struggles with IVF, and I was sick of oversharing. My relationship is pretty important to me and there are plenty of other things to banter about, like the Kardashians!”

But Jay-Jay was determined to expose the truth behind their supposed split in her new autobiography. “I just wrote about it and then gave him the book to read,” she says. “I was nervous, but I felt I might as well be honest. We have such a good relationship and it’s not always rosy.”

Delighted to have his wife back at home, Dom grabs hold of Jay-Jay’s hand as he admits, “I just had to roll with it. We’re best friends and fantastic business partners, but relationships are tough. We went through a hard time and had to try to figure things out.”

Happily, after nine months living apart, Jay-Jay finally met her deadline and she moved back in with Dom in July. But the depression is still a dark cloud that looms over her life and she knows it could strike again at any minute.

“I’m generally a happy person,” insists Jay-Jay, “but I take on too much and when I get stressed, I feel overwhelmed and everything becomes too much. I don’t want to get out of bed and I cry, but I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s horrible, especially when I’m on air because I force myself to fake this enthusiasm for life when really I feel like s— and I don’t want to be there.

“When I’m depressed, I feel like I could make some really rash decisions. It gets to the point where I want to quit my job, my marriage, my home, my kid and social media just to clear the clutter out of my head. That’s why I moved out while I wrote the book. Dom and I are perfect mates, but the stress had been building up for a while and I felt like I was bringing everyone down.”

Dom continues, “There was no screaming or shouting, but I was OK with her moving out because I wasn’t making her happy any more, which made me unhappy. It was a confusing time – and it’s still confusing now, even though she’s back home.”

Also in her new book, Jay-Jay lifts the lid on her time on Dancing with the Stars last year, confessing it wasn’t a gig she was interested in – when the call came, she thought Mediaworks was going to offer her a role presenting The Bachelorette NZ.

However, she got talked into it and actually started enjoying herself – until her fellow contestants complained that it was unfair that she was able to promote herself on her radio show.

“No-one said anything directly to me, but I could feel the snarkiness,” says Jay-Jay. “People were being fake to me.” And things only got worse when she spotted one of her rivals kissing their dance partner, despite the fact both of them were in relationships. Without mentioning names, Jay-Jay wrote about it in a gossip column – and all hell broke loose.

Watch: Jay-Jay gets a surprise on her 22nd work anniversary at The Edge. Story continues below.

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“I still feel sick about that,” sighs Jay-Jay. “I had no idea how much trouble I was going to cause. People were p***ed off that I’d brought suspicion on everyone and made things awkward for them at home. It started blowing up and I got confronted by someone’s crying partner. It was horrible.”

Jay-Jay ended up coming fourth on the TV3 series, but the drama “left a sour taste in my mouth”, she says. “It wasn’t a happy ending. It sucked. I haven’t danced since.”

The only silver lining was the fact she lost 13kg in the 12 weeks she was on the show. “That was just about worth the trauma,” Jay-Jay says with a wry smile. “I wish I could keep it off without dancing. Why do I love wine so much?!”

The day before our shoot, the radio star conquered her fear of heights by jumping off the Sky Tower. The 192-metre drop was terrifying, but there was another horrifying moment beforehand – when she had to step on the scales. She weighed 80kg. “With my clothes on!” Jay-Jay quickly clarifies. “But I nearly cried. I realised I’d put on seven kilos in the past 12 months. I felt like a failure.”

Despite her bravado about posing nude, Jay-Jay confesses, “My relationship with my body is not good. We’re not best friends. I’m just a girl with insecurities. I know you’re supposed to love your body and I’m supposed to set a good example by being happy with who I am, but there is major, major, major social pressure to look like Kylie Jenner.

“If you don’t look like that, you think that no-one’s going to find you sexy, hot, attractive or nice. And it’s worse when you’re putting on jeans and your stomach hangs over the top. I mean, I’m a size 12 or 14, but I go into shops and sometimes nothing fits me, and that makes me feel fat and gross.

“The problem is, I don’t eat a lot, but I do drink a couple of glasses of wine every night. And I’m active as in busy, but I hardly do any actual exercise. And for the past year, I’ve done a lot of sitting down writing this book.”

At this point, Dom interrupts. “Your body is a wonderland, in the words of John Mayer,” he tells his wife. “I’m fine with how you look. It’s just about you being comfortable with it.”

“He has to say that – he’s my husband,” replies Jay-Jay. “But in all seriousness, while my weight can depress me, I’m not that fixated on it. If I was, I’d be doing something about it instead of posing for a nude shoot!”

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