Inside Paul O’Grady’s tranquil life on his own idyllic farm

Paul O'Grady discusses his countryside lifestyle in 2017

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The experienced TV presenter and actor spends a significant portion of his time on his farm near Ashford, Kent, where he tends to his array of animals, including a dog rescued from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Although he turns 67 in a few weeks, O’Grady is still as vibrant and passionate as ever about caring for creatures of all shapes and sizes.

He and his partner Andre Portasio have owned sheep, pigs, goats, donkeys, ducks, chickens, geese, ferrets, bats, mice, and dogs at the rural farmhouse. They also grow organic fruit and vegetables, and a variety of herbs there. 

O’Grady purchased the house from comedian Vic Reeves, decorating it in an art nouveau style and establishing a smallholding in 1999.

Since then, the TV star has spent a lot of time relaxing there and enjoying the British countryside.

It’s somewhat of a contrast to Tranmere, the busy Merseyside suburb where he grew up in the 1960s. He was born there, the third child to an Irishman who had moved to the UK and met O’Grady’s mother, Kent Live reports.

O’Grady moved from the northwest to London in the 1970s, developing a drag act by basing the character of Lily Savage upon traits found amongst female relatives.

And, after he was spotted performing as the character in a gay pub, O’Grady made various TV apperances as his drag queen persona.

He’s since done other acting work, presented travel documentaries and the revamped Blind Date – but in recent years he’s become synonymous for hosting For the Love of Dogs at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in southwest London.

The series, which is reaching its 10th birthday this year, follows the stories of abandoned pets, their rehabilitation and their journey to finding new, loving homes.

O’Grady has openly admitted several times on the show that he’s always tempted to take some of the rescues back home with him.

And he often calls the pretty Kent farmhouse home. It’s a lifestyle which takes him a million miles away from the fast pace of showbusiness in London.

Speaking in an interview on ITV’s This Morning back in late 2017, O’Grady said: “I always fancied myself with a bit of land, a bit of livestock but I never thought it would happen.

“The joy for me of living in the countryside, you can let yourself go, I do anyway. I have friends who come down and go… When did you last have a wash? I’ve got no shoes and feet like a hobbit.”

By September 2016, O’Grady’s dedication to protect animals was so strong it was recognised with an award. RSPCA gave him the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare’ gong at the charity’s Animal Hero Awards. He’s also won two National Television Awards, including one for Most Popular Daytime Programme for The Paul O’Grady Show in 2005.

The comedian married Portasio, a former member of the English National Ballet, in 2017.

They lived together throughout the coronavirus lockdowns, but had normally resided separately.

And O’Grady is finally now looking to the future after suffering heart trouble earlier this year.

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