Seema Malhotra on her arranged marriage and the secret to their happy relationship
by Katie Russell
With the Real Housewives of Cheshire back on our screens this week, we caught up with Seema Malhotra to talk about her cringiest moment on set, the secret to her happy marriage and how she felt when she sliced Tanya Bardsley’s wedding dress with her Jimmy Choo…
What’s it like to star in the Real Housewives of Cheshire?
‘It’s surreal at times but it’s really fun. It’s hard work because I have a full-time job at [my fashion brand] Forever Unique. It can be quite hard juggling the two.’
How many hours a week are you filming?
‘We probably do about three and a half or four full days a week. It’s quite a lot.’
Is there as much drama off-screen as there is on-screen?
‘The drama is very real. People think when we’re making this show that it’s scripted – and it really isn’t. It’s as real as you see on-screen as it is off-screen.’
Do you ever watch the show back with the other Housewives?
‘The only person I’ve ever watched the show with is Stacey because out of all the cast members she is probably my closest friend. We cringed when we’ve watched it back. Especially last series!’
What was the moment that you and Stacey cringed at the most when you watched the show together?
‘It was probably the voicemail that we left last series [to Ester Dee by accident, while talking about her]. That was so real – it’s just two good friends that are just letting off steam, as you do. We were back in my house and we left this voicemail and it was every woman’s nightmare.’
Well it doesn’t seem to have affected the close group dynamic you have. When you renewed your vows recently, why did you decide to have the other Housewives as your bridesmaids?
‘I just wanted for each of the Housewives to have a special moment on what was my special day. I just thought it would be a gorgeous thing to do, and I gifted them all a dress. And I’m really glad, they all supported me and they all looked fabulous.’
How was the renewal of your vows different to your first wedding?
‘We had an arranged marriage and we had over 1,000 people attend our wedding. So it wasn’t so intimate. So [for the renewal] we wanted something really intimate with just friends and family, just to make it a special moment for me and my husband, Sandeep.’
Why did you decide to renew your vows?
‘We wanted to celebrate 25 amazing years that we’ve spent together. We’ve come so far. It was an arranged marriage, we’d only met for about six months. It’s crazy to think we were introduced by our parents, but we’ve had the most amazing 25 years. Our journey has been real.’
What is the secret to a long-lasting marriage?
‘I feel like my husband’s my best friend. My husband is probably the most encouraging person that I’ve ever met in my life. He’s just like, “if you have an ambition, if you have a goal, go out and do it.” He is the force behind me.’
You say you only knew each other for six months before you got married. What was your first impression of him?
‘I knew straightaway, on the first night that we went out on a date, that I was going to marry him. I’ve never met anyone who was so ambitious at that age. We were young – I met him at 20. He had dreams and he said, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to make it in life, I’m going to work really hard.” And I don’t think I’d met a guy like that before.’
For the renewal of the vows, I saw that you guys had a hen do and the bridesmaids wore their old wedding dresses. Whose idea was that?
‘It was Stacey’s idea and, oh God, what an idea! I ended up ripping Tanya’s dress. I think I ripped it three times.’
How did you feel when you did it?
‘I cried. I got so emotional because I felt so bad. She looked absolutely gorgeous and it was a £15,000 dress – maybe more. I can’t believe I sliced it with my Jimmy Choos.’
How did she take it?
‘She was absolutely brilliant. First she was like ‘woah’ and then she laughed and said, ‘I’m never going to wear it again, Seema, it’s fine.’ But I felt so bad. When I got home I sent her the biggest box of Forever Unique dresses.’
What can we expect from the next series of Real Housewives of Cheshire?
‘We’ve got two new faces this series. Let’s just say it starts with a load of drama because these two new Housewives have shook the dynamics of the group.’
And do you get involved in the drama?
‘I don’t just get stuck in for no reason but if I am involved then I’m going to stand my ground. And I can be opinionated when need be. But, to be honest, I’m more of a lover than a fighter. The age that I’m at, I think I’ve just found inner peace and I want to love everyone.’
Do you think the others share that point of view?
‘They’re all so different! Some of the girls feel that way but some of the others really don’t care! They can be more opinionated and really don’t give a damn.’
You’ve been on the show for a long time. If you could be on another reality show, what would it be?
‘I don’t think I’d go on Celebrity Big Brother – I don’t think that’s really me. I love to dance so I’d do Strictly if I ever got asked. The dream would be to do something fashion-related – a styling programme. That’s my passion – I live and breathe clothes.’