Claudia Winkleman recalls the moment she first fell in love with Mary Berry

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Kayleigh Dray
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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Claudia Winkleman and Mary Berry at the fourth annual Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.Hosted by Claudia Winkleman,the awards celebrate the best in writing and broadcasting on food and drink on May 12, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Fortnum & Mason )

Claudia Winkleman and Mary Berry are here to give you some serious #workwife inspiration…

Heading into work can feel pretty unbearable sometimes – unless, of course, there’s someone very special waiting for you in the office.

We’re talking, of course, about your work wife.

They’re the colleague who became a friend – and then, over time, something even more than that. Maybe they’re your can’t-live-without-them support system. Maybe they’re the person who keeps you smiling, even when impossible deadlines and nightmare bosses are driving you up the walks. They might be the one who reminds you, quietly, to take your lunch and go home on time, or the pal you go to when you’re in need of hot coffee and gossip. Your drinking buddy. Your snack provider. Your human version of a burn book (because, yes, sometimes it’s good to vent).

Or maybe, just maybe, they’re Mary ‘Queen of Cakes’ Berry.

Claudia Winkleman and Berry recently teamed up for Britain’s Best Home Cook (due to air Thurs 3 May, 8pm, on BBC One) – and Winkleman has now admitted that she blindly signed up for the show when she heard the former Great British Bake Off judge was going to be a part of it.

“They had me at Mary,” she told The Sun. “I didn’t know what the show was going to be about. . They said, ‘Mary’, I went ‘yup’ and they went, ‘Do you want to know the premise?’ 

“[I told them], ‘Nope it’s fine. It can be about avocados. May¬be she wants to go abseiling. It’s a yes.’”

According to Winkleman, the pair formed an instance “womance” (the female equivalent of a bromance) almost as soon as they began filming.

“We fell in love and I thought it was just going to be one-sided and I couldn’t be too fan girl.

“I thought, is it going to be too weird to sit on her lap? I don’t know, I think she can take it.’

“[And now] we’re friends. We’re best friends… we’ve hung out, we text, which is very sweet. She gets very excited when she gets a text.”

Indeed, the pair have been such good friends that Berry decided to confide one of her darkest secrets with Winkleman: that she had once been arrested for drug smuggling.

“We were snuggled under a blanket, because it’s always cold on set,” Winkleman shared on The Graham Norton Show (with Berry’s blessing, of course). 

“And then Mary turns to me and says, ‘Did I ever tell you about the time I was arrested?’

“I swear to god, my jaw just dropped.”

As Berry then proceeded to tell the tale, Winkleman – in the way of all good friends – kept interjecting with her own little titbits.

“This is my favourite part,” she broke in at one point, covering her face in gleeful anticipation.

All in all, it seems this work spouse relationship is working out well for Berry and Winkleman – and we don’t doubt it will have an impact on their new TV show, too. After all, research has found that you’re more likely to excel in the workplace when collaborating with your ‘work wife’ than with someone you’ve only ever exchanged small talk with in the office kitchen.

“Working with friends is not just something that makes us feel good - it can actually produce better results,” says Robert Lount, associate professor of management and human resources and co-author of the study.

“When employees are having fun together, it may have long-term benefits for productivity.”

Image: Getty


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.