Sacha Forbes meets the Pop Princess at her Oxfordshire idyll, where she talks falling in love with Caspar Jopling, embracing motherhood alongside friend Princess Eugenie and why William and Kate’s wedding was one of the best moments of her life
Ellie Goulding has had a busy year. Already one of Britain’s most successful solo artists – she’s sold more than 15 million albums and won a string of awards, including a handful of Brits – she has released an album, written a book, moved house and given birth, at the end of April, to her first child.
Her new home is in an idyllic Gloucestershire village and, when we meet, 34-year-old Goulding is already on the go, arranging an online barre class with a teacher in LA for later that afternoon. Her husband, the handsome art dealer Caspar Jopling, 29, is standing in his workout gear in the large open-plan kitchen, busy on the phone, while their baby son, Arthur, is sleeping peacefully in the corner. ‘It was the first house we saw,’ says Goulding. ‘It just had something really enchanting about it.’ Enchanting it is: the kitchen leads into a high-ceilinged sitting area with a wooden dining table, comfy sofas and bookshelves lining the back wall. But it’s a work in progress: ‘We’ve done a lot to the house,’ says Goulding, ‘and we’re still working on it.’ We settle down in what will eventually become Caspar’s study and meeting room; for now, other than a large sofa opposite the fireplace and a couple of black-and-white Gilbert & George artworks, it’s unfurnished, with packing boxes and pictures propped up around the room.
Ellie Goulding is half-standing, half-crouching in front of her computer so as to best position herself to show me her ‘fully cooked’ baby bump down a Zoom camera from her home in Gloucestershire.
‘Just a few more weeks to go,’ she says, stroking her neat rounded belly under her black hoodie. ‘And then I will be a mum.’ She pauses and says, half to herself, ‘It still feels strange to say those words out loud.’
Ellie’s pregnancy – the baby is due next month – was one of lockdown’s best kept secrets. She refrained from posting about it to the 14 million fans who follow her on Instagram. She kept to herself her penchant for tinned sardines and Weetabix Minis (‘Not eaten at the same time,’ she laughs), her newly developed boobs (‘A revelation: I’ve always had a runner’s body and now I have a bigger ass and these rather nice boobs’) and her two visits to McDonald’s. (‘I know!’ laughs the health fanatic, who has long extolled the benefits of spinach, blueberries and all things organic and clean. ‘But it was only two!’) She told family and friends, including fellow mums-to-be Princess Eugenie and the singer Katy Perry, ‘who gave me excellent advice like where to find the best pregnancy pillows to get a good night’s sleep’.