Actress Tamzin Outhwaite lives her life by one inspirational saying these days: ‘Hurt people hurt people, healed people heal people.’
The words could not be more poignant for the actress, who has harnessed the pain and loss she’s endured for gritty TV roles in EastEnders and police drama The Tower.
She says hormonal imbalances turned her into a ‘controlling’ person during her marriage to actor Tom Ellis, father of her children, Florence, 15, and Marnie, 11.
But having trauma healing treatment at the Preidlhof spa retreat in Italy’s South Tyrol earlier this year proved life-changing – not just for herself, but subsequently for other women.
‘It was transformative,’ says Tamzin, 52, who lost ‘many babies’ during her marriage.
Following her own trauma healing treatment at the Preidlhof spa retreat in Italy’s South Tyrol, Tamzin Outhwaite was inspired to set up We Free Women, a not-for-profit organisation that offers retreats for women who are struggling in various ways
‘I had a trauma healing session with a shaman who didn’t know anything about my baby losses. But he held his hands over my womb and I apologised for falling asleep.
‘But he said, “You weren’t asleep, you were shaking all the way through.” I felt like there was a huge shift. It cleared something.’
Her eight-year marriage ended in 2014, after Tom cheated on her with Lost actress Emilie de Ravin. ‘I was a different person,’ Tamzin says. ‘I was pre-baby or getting over having a baby or having had a miscarriage.
‘There was a big chunk of time where, hormonally, I wasn’t myself. I’m still on the road to self-discovery but I’m in a much better place.’
It was the retreat that inspired her to help others. ‘I got the idea for a wellness retreat for women in need of a break. The response was overwhelming.
‘People were nominating deserving women and I was inundated with offers from therapists, chefs, menopause specialists and yoga teachers.’
The result is We Free Women, a not-for-profit organisation that offers retreats for struggling women.
‘People said, “I don’t think I’ve taken a deep breath for years.” It was incredible. I feel like I’ve had an awakening and I want to pass that on. That happens if you’re comfortable in your own skin, which I am now. So many women are spinning so many plates, normally when they hit menopause.’
Tamzin’s wellness journey began when she took part in BBC1’s Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof last year.
Celebrities immersed themselves in a frozen lake, among other gruelling challenges, and learned breathing techniques from the Dutch wellness guru in order to confront their fears.
At the time Tamzin was struggling with the menopause and the grief of losing her mother Anna, who died of an aneurysm in 2018, aged 67.
‘I made a mental shift on Freeze The Fear. I’ve carried on the breathing techniques and I’ve bought an ice bath and an infrared sauna, which is amazing for the menopause.
‘But the breathing is key – it focuses my mind and I know I can come back to myself if I’m having any doubt or panic.’
Tamzin jumps into an icy lake on Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof last year. She has carried on the breathing techniques that she learned on the show, which allow her to focus her mind when she feels panicked
Tamzin is currently starring in the West End’s 40th anniversary production of Michael Frayn’s Noises Off with Felicity Kendal, and she says work is also a great healer.
‘Life can be tough, but work gives you a different identity and a purpose. I’ve been looking forward to working with Felicity – watching her in The Good Life was a huge part of my youth.’
Noises Off is a play within a play that follows the antics of a theatre company. ‘I play Belinda, who’s very theatrical,’ says Tamzin. ‘I’m going to play to the strengths of old musical theatre. It’s going to be fun.’
She’s also just finished working on Murder Is Easy, a two-part BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel in which Tamzin plays Mrs Pierce, the mother of one of the victims.
Tamzin lives with her partner, filmmaker Tom Child, who she met in 2017 at a yoga studio, and who, at 32, is 20 years her junior.
‘We connect around wellbeing and other things. As for the age gap, it feels irrelevant. The key to the way we live is staying in the moment because it’s all we have. We don’t plan anything.’
How did she rebuild trust after her husband’s betrayal? ‘I am blessed. I’ve seen through We Free Women that other people are having a tough time and I’m not one of those people.
‘I’ve got two kids and a brilliant group of girl friends. But the most important relationship is with yourself. It took me a long time to learn that.’
- Noises Off is at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 16 December. For tickets go to trh.co.uk.