Anita Rani has revealed she found ‘freedom’ after getting divorced. 

The Countryfile presenter, 46, split from her husband of 14 years, Bhupi Rehal, last September and in a candid piece for The Sunday Times she explained how she has been navigating single life in her forties. 

Anita, who was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire by an Indian-born Hindu father and an Indian-born Sikh mother, also revealed how her upbringing had impacted her approach to life. 

She confessed that her family believed divorce to be a ‘cardinal sin’, and while she admitted it ‘isn’t easy to talk about’, she wanted to detail how she feels about her life now so ‘that I am answerable to no one.’

Anita mused: ‘Becoming single in my mid-forties has made me re-evaluate everything. It has made me see how much I have been conditioned to be a dutiful woman, rather than a free woman.’

Anita Rani, 46, has found freedom in getting divorced after a lifetime of feeling pressure and shame because she was 'born with a vagina' (pictured with ex-husband Bhupi Rehal in 2018)

Anita Rani, 46, has found freedom in getting divorced after a lifetime of feeling pressure and shame because she was 'born with a vagina' (pictured with ex-husband Bhupi Rehal in 2018)

Anita Rani, 46, has found freedom in getting divorced after a lifetime of feeling pressure and shame because she was ‘born with a vagina’ (pictured with ex-husband Bhupi Rehal in 2018) 

She continued: ‘I was raised to be a high achiever, to make my parents and family proud, but I was also raised never to bring shame. This is where it gets kind of problematic, especially if you are born with a vagina. So I guess I’ve lived in extreme conflict.’

Anita confessed that she ‘resented’ doing what she believed to be her ‘duty’ and mused: ‘Now I feel as if I’m beginning to breathe for the first time, do what I truly want to. And now hitting my mid-forties has given me a sense of urgency.’

The TV presenter touched upon covering the theme of generational trauma in her novel Baby Does A Runner.

Anita explained to Good Housekeeping at the time: ‘I grew up in a Punjabi family where men and women were treated very differently and I could see the inequality everywhere around me. 

‘But when you have something to fight against, it really empowers you. It’s like a fire inside that drives you.’

Anita has previously discussed being one become one of the few British Asian presenters on television and wanting to dispel stereotypes. 

She told Good Housekeeping in 2020: ‘First of all, it feels great to have worked so hard and achieved something like that; smashing glass ceilings is a pretty great feeling.

‘But it’s important to me to speak out about the struggles I’ve had, too.

‘The perception of Asian women has always been very binary; people think we’re quite square and clever and that we don’t have sex until we’re married (of course, Mother, I didn’t have sex until I got married!).

‘But that’s just not the case. I’ve hated being put into boxes my whole life.’

Anita confessed that she 'resented' doing what she believed to be her 'duty' and mused: 'Now I feel as if I¿m beginning to breathe for the first time, do what I truly want to' (pictured in May)

Anita confessed that she 'resented' doing what she believed to be her 'duty' and mused: 'Now I feel as if I¿m beginning to breathe for the first time, do what I truly want to' (pictured in May)

Anita confessed that she ‘resented’ doing what she believed to be her ‘duty’ and mused: ‘Now I feel as if I’m beginning to breathe for the first time, do what I truly want to’ (pictured in May) 

Anita, who was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire by an Indian-born Hindu father and an Indian-born Sikh mother, revealed how her upbringing had impacted her approach to life (pictured in childhood with parents Balvinder Nazran and Lakhvir Taggar)

Anita, who was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire by an Indian-born Hindu father and an Indian-born Sikh mother, revealed how her upbringing had impacted her approach to life (pictured in childhood with parents Balvinder Nazran and Lakhvir Taggar)

Anita, who was born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire by an Indian-born Hindu father and an Indian-born Sikh mother, revealed how her upbringing had impacted her approach to life (pictured in childhood with parents Balvinder Nazran and Lakhvir Taggar) 

Anita met her husband at a rave in east London and married in a Sikh ceremony back in 2009.

She previously told how the couple had a good marriage, saying: ‘He’s great and we have a great life. It’s like any marriage: you have to work at it.’

It’s believed that Anita and Bhupi, a tech company owner, split as a result of their hectic schedules.

A source told The Mirror at the time: ‘It’s really sad but they’ve decided to separate.

‘Their hectic schedules over the past couple of years have sadly meant they’ve drifted apart over time.

‘They remain on very good terms and wish nothing but the best for one another.’

In May, Anita revealed she had moved back in to a flat she bought 30 years ago and had decided to transform it into her dream home following her marital split.

She told Good Housekeeping: ‘I feel like I’ve stepped into a place that I never, ever expected myself to be in. I’m in uncharted territory – I’m a single, Asian woman with no children, and do you know what? I love it!’

In late 2023, Anita told how she’s stopped ‘people pleasing‘ after being being put ‘in a box’ for much of her life.

Speaking to Yahoo News, Anita told of the pressure she felt to settle down after it was instilled that marriage and children equals success, remarking that the notion is ‘drip fed to you’.

She said: ‘How many of us are making choices based on what we actually want to do? and how many of us are doing it because it’s what’s expected of us? And those are the things that I’m personally grappling with.’

Anita has previously discussed being one become one of the few British Asian presenters on television (pictured on her show Bollywood: The World's Biggest Film Industry)

Anita has previously discussed being one become one of the few British Asian presenters on television (pictured on her show Bollywood: The World's Biggest Film Industry)

Anita has previously discussed being one become one of the few British Asian presenters on television (pictured on her show Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry) 

Anita met her husband at a rave in London and married in a Sikh ceremony back in 2009. It's believed that Anita and Bhupi, a tech company owner, split as a result of their hectic schedules

Anita met her husband at a rave in London and married in a Sikh ceremony back in 2009. It's believed that Anita and Bhupi, a tech company owner, split as a result of their hectic schedules

Anita met her husband at a rave in London and married in a Sikh ceremony back in 2009. It’s believed that Anita and Bhupi, a tech company owner, split as a result of their hectic schedules

The presenter told how she began ‘second guessing’ what people wanted after watching women in her life facilitate everyone before themselves.

Anita went on to say that her 40s were very ‘transitional’ and she started to not ‘give a f*** as much’ as she felt more ’empowered’ and ‘confident’ within herself. 

She shared: ‘I think at some point, you wake up and realise it’s time to make myself happy, because I think women do look after everybody, whether that’s because that’s what society expects, or whether it’s your parents or your husband or your children. 

‘You realise that it’s a bit of a waste of time trying to please other people. And once you find who you are, and you walk into a room authentically, valuing who you are – that’s a sensational feeling.’

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