I looked like mutton - I had to change
There's no denying Meg Mathews has given herself a total overhaul. She's had therapy to beat her addictions, and after a year of gruelling workouts is the owner of an impressively toned bod. Pictures of her pumping iron in a park with her personal trainer have been splashed across the papers, and you can't fail to be impressed by her super-honed physique.
As she poses , Meg, looks formidable. To her obvious irritation, she's still best known as the rock- chick ex of Oasis' slightly less fiery brother, Noel Gallagher . And she's spent the nine years since they split up trying to get her life back on track.
They were together for seven drink and drug-fuelled years - and after they divorced, Meg carried on living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
On the outside, Meg looked as if she was coping with the split - but she wasn't. In September 2006 she finally faced her demons, cutting short her 40th birthday celebrations in Ibiza to check into a London addiction clinic.
"It was a combination of things. I'd turned 40, and I hadn't really dealt with the divorce. I was very depressed and was drinking too much, that kind of thing," she says.
"One day I just thought: 'It's time to deal with it, face it, let it all out,'" she adds. "The thing about rehab is you have to be honest. I was able to say: 'I feel this, and I think he's this and he's that', and it felt good."
She emerged from rehab one month later and hasn't touched drugs since. In fact, she's barely had so much as a glass of wine - a surprising admission for a woman who, along with Kate Moss, 35, and Sadie Frost, 44, was one of the hard-living Primrose Hill set.
A second transformation came after Meg was papped at a movie premiere last year.
"I was in leopard-print trousers with all these blonde hair extensions. Afterwards, I looked at the photos and thought: 'For God's sake, Meg, what are you doing? You're 42, not 22'. I was mutton dressed as lamb. I realised it was time for a change," she admits.
And what a change. She's almost unrecognisable - and it seems that's what she wanted. "At last this is the chance to be me rather than someone's ex-wife," she says.
Gone are the hair extensions, replaced by a sleek bob in her natural brunette. Gone too are the 'look at me' outfits. In their place are sophisticated, grown-up clothes by Calvin Klein, Lanvin and Donna Karan.
But it's her body overhaul that she's most proud of, saying: "I didn't hate my size before, but once you hit your 40s it gets harder and harder to keep your figure. I was always a size 8 to 10, but earlier this year I was a 12."
Meg cut out her beloved fry-ups, pasta and potatoes, and went on a strict healthy-eating plan. Now she has porridge and fruit for breakfast, with steamed fish and brown rice for lunch.
She also has a 'no carbs after 6pm rule', although she doesn't enforce it in front of Anais, her nine-year-old daughter with Noel. "I don't want Anais to think there's anything weird going on, so I'll have a little of what she eats then have my own dinner later, like sashimi, or chicken and salad."
The dedication has certainly paid off - she's dropped two dress sizes and is back to an 8, and there's not an ounce of excess flesh on her. She's all sinewy muscle, a testament to both her diet and her rigorous exercise plan - she works out with her personal trainer for 45 minutes, five days a week.
"I like to train in short bursts of energy - circuits, sprints up and down a hill, that kind of thing. I also do Powerplate three times a week. I am muscly, but I like it. I'd love to look like Madonna, but my fiancé wouldn't like it," she says.
Ah yes, her fiancé. Another reason for this new improved Meg. She's due to marry art professor Peter Sidell next year. They first met when she was 18 and working in Joseph, and he was a buyer. They got together last December after bumping into each other in a queue outside Guy Ritchie's pub, The Punchbowl. "We went for dinner and that was it," she giggles.
Well, not quite. The pair split briefly in March this year, but realised they couldn't bear to be apart and in May, Peter, 49, proposed at the top of the Empire State Building. But there's no bling diamonds for Meg this time. Instead she wears a tasteful Stephen Webster-designed gold engagement ring.
"I'd rather have a country cottage for the price of a diamond," she insists.
Peter loves his future bride's chic new look - mainly, she says, because he can see she's happy. You get the impression he won't be buying Meg a pair of new 32DD boobs any time soon, as her former husband did for her 30th birthday.
"They're pretty impressive aren't they," she laughs. "I've had far less surgery than people think. It was reported I'd had a tummy tuck after Anais was born, but my appendix burst and I had to have an operation to remove it. I have Botox three times a year but nothing else. I did put a bit of collagen in my lips a few years ago but my dad said I looked like Daffy Duck from the side, so I didn't do it again!"
That's not to say Meg is ruling out more surgery in the future. "Ulrika Jonsson looks incredible. I don't know why people are so against cosmetic surgery. People are entitled to do what they want with their own bodies," she says.
But for now, she's busy focusing on her spring wedding and her new career as a wallpaper designer (her latest collection has just been launched at London's upmarket Liberty store) - and keeping that body in trim.
Despite still being close to the rest of the Primrose Hill set, Meg says her wild days are well and truly behind her.
"I'm not naming names, but I would say 80 per cent of that set don't really drink any more," she says.
"It doesn't mean we don't have fun. I've just been in Rome with Kate, Sadie and the gang and had a great time. We're all older now.
"People think we're these crazy rock chicks, but the sad truth is that I haven't got the energy for wild partying now. I'd rather be at home watching telly."