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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Jessica Sansome

Real life of Our Yorkshire Farm's Amanda Owen - model past, tragic loss, marriage split and relationship status

Many fans know her as the Yorkshire Shepherdess but things could have been different for Amanda Owen. She rose to fame through the hit TV show Our Yorkshire Farm which followed her and her family's life on Ravenseat Farm in Swaledale, North Yorkshire.

However, the programme wasn't how Amanda first started to gain attention. The 48-year-old first gained attention through her Twitter feed as 'The Yorkshire Shepherdess', and has subsequently written five books. In August 2017 she appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Museum of Curiosity and two years later she was the subject of Radio 4's On Your Farm.

But her actual first TV appearance came several years before she and her then-husband Clive became stars of Channel 5. Amanda and her family, which at that point included only five of her now-nine children first appeared as regulars on Adrian Edmondson's 2011 ITV documentary series The Dales alongside the Reverend Ann Chapman, the vicar of four small churches, and a number of other people living in the Yorkshire Dales.

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Then in 2015 the family appeared in an episode of New Lives In The Wild UK with Ben Fogle, and their appearance led to their own observational documentary series following life on the Owens' farm which we came to know and love as Our Yorkshire Farm. And the show quickly became one of the channel's most popular programmes with over three million viewers watching each episode.

But it appears that life on the farm has been a dream of Amanda's since she was a child growing up in suburban Huddersfield. She is said to have spent her free time in the local library researching different ways to work with animals as she knew she wasn't going to be able to get the grades to be a vet.

And it was her research which lead her to discover shepherding. After leaving school she worked odd jobs on local farms before becoming a shepherdess in her early twenties. It was while she was training at the age of 21 that she met Clive, helping the divorced father of two at Ravenseat in 1995.

The then 42-year-old was running the farm singe-handedly when Amanda knocked on the door on one dark evening looking for a ram. Amanda previously shared that she came to a burrow a "tup", which is a male sheep, when she first set eyes on her future husband.

Amanda was in her 20s when she became a shepherdess (PA)

And while it wasn't love at first sight, despite the 21-year age gap, Amanda, who went on to give birth on the roadside six times and once by the fire in the living room with only their dog for company, and Clive became friends before they started developing feelings for each other.

However, it's now all change as Amanda is going solo with a new show after her split from Clive. The former couple announced their split back in June 2022 after 22 years of marriage. The pair, who are parents to Raven, 21, Reuben, 19, Miles, 16, Edith, 14, Violet, 12, Sidney, 11, Annas, nine, Clemmy, seven, and six-year-old Nancy, announced they would be splitting in an Instagram Story post.

The joint statement read: "Clive and I have are sad to confirm that we have made the difficult decision to separate. This hasn't been easy, but we both believe it's the right choice for the future of our family. Although we are no longer a couple, we continue to work on the farm and co-parent together with our number one priority the happiness and well-being of our children."

Amanda is now enjoying life as a single "independent woman" who's concentrating on raising her nine children without a new man in her life. Speaking to the MailOnline about her relationship status, she said: "I'm just getting on with my life as an independent woman, looking after the kids and my sheep."

She was also forced to clarify that no third party was involved in the breakdown of her marriage, adding: "There was nobody involved in the break up with Clive and I don't understand why this is being suggested. I'm not a wallflower and I'm not over-sensitive, but a lot of things said about me are being taken out of context. I'm living a fantastic life doing what I really love."

She also shared: "We are co-parenting and the whole family is very happy," the TV star added, explaining: "I was just with Clive this morning… There's absolutely no problem between us. It's been a very amicable split and we continue to work together. Everybody in the family is happy with the way things have turned out."

Clive and Amanda split after 22 years together (Channel 5)

Following their split, Amanda began filming a new More4 documentary, titled Amanda Owen’s Farming Lives, her first solo series without Clive, with the first of six episodes airing on January 25. The new series sees her visiting other working farms across the UK, exploring their innovative methods and the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis. It also comes as Amanda prepares to take her UK tour across the country later this year.

Meanwhile, Clive and his son Reuben have launched their own TV show, Beyond the Yorkshire Farm, with the first episode of the show, which follows their new business venture, airing in December. The show was intended to be a limited series made up of three episodes and it has not yet been confirmed if it will return for another season.

But before turning to be a shepherdess, 6ft 2 tall Amanda had aspirations of following in her mother's footsteps and becoming a model. "When you think you're going to be a model in like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, but actually then you end up doing knitting catalogues and things like," she previously shared on Our Yorkshire Farm.

It was Amanda's mother spotted an ad in a local paper, and arranged for Amanda to have her pictures taken by a photographer in a studio. But in her novel, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, she explained how a traumatic experience put her off modelling for life. She said she was asked to wear dated clothes, including a lemon dress with shoulder pads and a cardigan.

According to the Mirror, Amanda penned: "He [the photographer] took pictures to see 'if the camera loved me' then said he would be back in touch. We didn't hear anything until a few weeks later when his picture was in the local newspaper." Amanda and her mum had been the victims of an "elaborate" scam. “That was the beginning and end of my modelling career and thankfully mother never mentioned it again,” she firmly stated.

Amanda also suffered tragedy as a teen when her dad Maurice - a 6ft9in "gentle giant" - died. Speaking in a campaign for Barnardo's in 2021, she said: "So my dad was called Maurice, he was a giant of a man. He was six foot nine, he was just a real gentle giant." Amanda, who was 17 at the time of her loss, continued: "We had a great relationship but I suppose thinking about it now, I maybe would have made more of the time that we have together. If I’d known I was going to lose him at such a young age."


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