SHE is the straight-talking comedian who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
But Katherine Ryan admits being so terrified of losing work when she was expecting her baby that she lied to TV bosses.
The 38-year-old was EIGHT MONTHS pregnant when she presented ITV reality dating show Ready To Mingle — but no one had a clue she was even having her second child.
Katherine revealed: “During my pregnancy I wasn’t telling anyone.
“You can’t get insured on any production if you are pregnant.
“Sometimes, if you are important enough, they go the extra mile. You see Holly Willoughby pregnant and that’s because she’s worth it.
“I tried to keep it secret. People just thought I was really fat for ages. I had to keep it quiet. I still needed to work to feed my family.
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“I had been off for the whole pandemic. I walked on to set for Ready To Mingle eight months pregnant.
“If you go on the BBC’s insurance site it says it doesn’t insure for any matters of the womb. If your vagina falls off on set, that’s it.
“You don’t want to let down a production if you have some complication of pregnancy.
“Let’s say you are on a sitcom and the whole day gets cancelled — you won’t be insured.
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“If you had an eye infection and they couldn’t film you, that day would be insured and everyone would get paid and go home.
“It is so weird, so I just lied.”
As a stand-up, the Canadian-Irish actress and comic is not afraid to be outspoken and she readily accepts the criticism handed back in return.
She slammed Will Smith after the Chris Rock Oscars slap for not accepting a joke, and received a brutal reaction after commenting on the 30-year age gap between actor Nicolas Cage, 58, and his pregnant wife Riko.
On her new Amazon Prime Video series, Backstage With Katherine Ryan, she invites comedians to perform and chat with her at London’s Roundhouse theatre.
She even savagely confronted fellow comedian Seann Walsh over his Strictly kissing scandal with professional dancer Katya Jones.
But the reaction she received for being “fat” during her “secret pregnancy” was different to anything she had ever dealt with before.
Katherine has two children — Fred, who turned one this month, with her civil partner Bobby Kootstra, 38, and 12-year-old Violet, from a previous relationship. She was expecting Fred during filming.
Katherine has talked about the pain she suffered in 2020 when she had a miscarriage at ten weeks, so she was determined to keep her unborn baby safe.
She told Rob Beckett and Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell podcast: “I have had some experience of pregnancy loss, so I did lots of research into avoiding that. There is a thing where you take steroids and then an intravenous thing every four weeks, and it calms your immune system.
“But what steroids also do is turn you into an absolute sumo wrestler.
“I gained, like, three stone in three months, basically on my face. And I got so big. Because I talk about Botox and filler, the whole of the internet was like, ‘Katherine has really done it this time, she has f***ed up her face’.
“I just had to sit there with this fat Madonna face and be like, ‘Yeah’.
“But it didn’t bother me. I had been called lots of things. Facelift, too much filler or fat, it didn’t bother me though, I just thought it was fascinating, eye-opening.
“When people say things about my appearance it doesn’t bother me.
“But I’d never experienced being called fat.
“It is interesting to me because I only took a tourism trip into being fat.
“People are really mean about other people being fat. They are really nasty.”
Katherine is more used to getting compliments and acclaim.
The Ontario-born star moved to the UK in 2007 for her job as a corporate trainer for the saucy Hooters chain of bars and restaurants.
She helped open its first UK venue in Nottingham.
Katherine had appeared on TV as herself in multiple episodes of the Canadian music video review show Video On Trial between 2005 and 2008.
After relocating to England, she was in the cast of Channel 4’s sitcom Campus and active on the comedy circuit.
She now calls North London her home and lives there with Bobby, her first love.
The pair split after a drunken row at their high school prom in 1998, then reconnected 20 years later.
Katherine said: “He is the love of my life. I have loved him since I was a 15-year-old. He is a stay-at-home dad/professional golfer.”
Meanwhile, Katherine is one of the most popular comedians in the country, a panel show mainstay and Netflix hit.
She has been a regular on 8 Out Of 10 Cats after first appearing in 2012, as well as Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and has presented Hair and All That Glitters: Britain’s Next Jewellery Star on BBC2.
As an actress, as well as Campus, Katherine has starred in the sitcom Episodes and comedy drama The Duchess, which she also wrote.
During her time as a stand-up, she has performed across the world and is due to kick off a new tour this autumn.
Yet despite the amazingly busy schedule, she managed to potty-train both of her children before they could walk.
‘S**t storm of hatred’
Katherine told the podcast, which is hosted by Josh and Rob: “I have finished potty-training Fred.
“I hate to say this because it always gets me in trouble with Mumsnet, but he was potty-trained when he was eight months old.
“You would not believe the s**t storm of hatred I get for doing this. People are quite spicy.
“If I started potty-training Fred now I don’t think he would co-operate.
“I potty-train my children almost from birth, like four months.
“It is very controversial. I don’t care. When we put them in nappies you effectively train them to go in nappies.
“I put them on the potty and you read them a story, I say, ‘Do you need to pee pee in the potty?’ If they accidentally go, which they invariably will, you go, ‘Well done’, and you put them without a nappy for a while.
“As soon as Fred wakes up we put him on the toilet, he always poos in the morning, he is on the same schedule as his dad. Fred hasn’t had a poo in a nappy for four or five months.
“They just learn that is where they go. He points to the potty, he just gets it. No one believes me and I really don’t give a s**t.
“There is loads of literature about it. In the eastern world they do it all the time, they can’t afford nappies, or it is normal in rural areas.
“I thought Violet was special but now Fred has done it. I am like, ‘They can all just do it’. We are very lucky, we have the luxury of time though.
“I don’t think nursery workers would have the time as they have to look after a few children.”
Her eldest child is about to become a teenager but Katherine has faced parenting issues with this, too, after being turned away from businesses that refuse to host a birthday party for a 13-year-old.
She said: “I am ringing up all these venues. I don’t have parties of my own. I put, genuinely, a wedding budget into all of Violet’s birthday parties.
“These are grand, catered events, with an event planner, a decorator, a DJ — it is a thing. I’ve had no problems until this year. And all these venues are like, ‘Yes, we have availability’.
“And then they are like, ‘Oh, it is a 13-year-old, no we won’t do the party . . . they always trash the place . . . any teenage parties, we will not have them’.
“It infuriates me, it creates a situation where teens are not welcome anywhere.
“They can’t go into a sweet shop without being followed. You can’t even have a birthday party for them.
“I said, ‘These are young scholars. They go to a private girls’ school.
“They have ponies. They play the violin. What the f do you think is going to happen?’.”
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There is a big advantage to being well known, though: “I found a venue that will accept Violet’s party probably because of who I am. And I can’t wait.”
ITV and BBC were approached for comment.