Katherine Ryan reveals how she wound up living her "worst nightmare" by marrying her high school boyfriend 20 years on

KATHERINE Ryan has made a name for herself as a bold, brassy comic whose stand-up is an “anthem for independent single mums everywhere”. 

But now that she has married her high school sweetheart after 20 years apart, the 37-year-old is “living her worst nightmare” – as somebody’s wife. 


The Canada-born comedian lives in London with her daughter Violet, 11, and her husband Bobby Kootstra. 

The pair were an item at school but split while they were still teens and didn’t speak for 20 years.

Remarkably they were reunited in Canada in 2018 when they agreed to have a one-night stand.

And it must have gone well because, despite Katherine doing “everything possible not to marry him”, the pair celebrated their first wedding anniversary in September.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Katherine said: “Magically my high school boyfriend walked into my life and I did everything possible not to marry him. 

“I really was against partnership at that point. I was looking forward to ageing alone with many dogs. And then I just loved him too much. 

“It’s funny that fate has a way of finding you and what’s meant for you won’t pass you.”


On their one-year anniversary Katherine shared a snap of the smitten couple on Instagram with the caption: “I don’t advocate getting married to anyone unless it’s Bobby K. Happy Anniversary to my one true love. #wewereonabreak.”

'I did everything possible not to marry him'

Katherine’s latest stand-up special Glitter Room was all about life as an independent single mum, but her next, Missus, will be quite different thanks to her new, more "conventional" life. 

She said: “It’s so crazy. My last stand up was truly this anthem for a different shape of a family, going against these expectations that I think are especially hoisted upon women. 

“That ‘Uh oh, you have to find a man or else you're running out of time’ and ‘finding a man is the most important thing you could do’. 

“I think that that narrative needed to be challenged. And it wasn't until I said those words, which I very, very wholeheartedly meant, that Bobby came back into my life. 

“I believe even the most unlikely scenarios will pop up in your life when you least expect them. 

“So my new tour Missus is really about this wild year. It's always going to be about zeitgeisty celebrity stuff and evolve as I'm touring, but it’s just about how my life has changed and what it's like to be someone's wife – my worst nightmare.”

Katherine also took the independent-minded mum theme to her semi-autobiographical Netflix series The Duchess, which came out in September. 

It revolves around the complicated love life of Katherine, who navigates dating, single motherhood and trying every means possible to provide her daughter with a sibling – even turning to her ex-boyfriend to be a sperm donor. 


Injecting female empowerment and other political issues into her comedy is crucial for Katherine.

She said: “I think just being a female comedian is political in itself. For so long we were not encouraged to have a voice. 

“I weave politics into my comedy where I can. I am really exploring the best way to do it and be accessible. 

“I think that we've reached a place with entertainment where you have to be absolutely one way or absolutely the other. And I think it turns people off and it's divisive.” 


She added: “My challenge is to Trojan horse it in, kind of like with feminism. 

“Anytime I'm outright like, ‘I'm a feminist’, people are like ‘ew’. But if I sneak it in then people find it a lot more palatable. 

“You know, it seems like I'm talking about Beyonce, but really I'm trying to talk about the disparity between different ethnicities of women's rights.”


It can take a lot to make Katherine cackle, but nothing makes her laugh more than her pal and fellow comedian Roisin Conaty. 

Watching Roisin get mugged last year was “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life”.

Katherine said: “I’m sorry to say that, it was really sad, but Roisin cannot not be funny.

“She makes me laugh out loud, even when she’s in a crisis. She cannot help but be funny every minute of every day.”

Katherine is a Kim K superfan

Katherine is known for her glamorous on-stage outfits, but if she could only wear one thing for the rest of her life it would be a Kardashian-West nude tracksuit.

Katherine, a self-confessed Kardashian mega-fan, said: “I’d wear a nude, really soft, organic cotton tracksuit – like the default cult outfit that Kanye West and his family seem to be committed to wearing.

“The elasticated ankles and elasticated waist. I love that the West Kardashian family are always in just like a muted, monochrome tracksuit.”

But she won’t want anyone to buy it for her – including Father Christmas – as she absolutely hates gifts.

She puts it down to “only liking attention I’m in control of”. 

One thing she has taken control of is the kitchen after rediscovering a love of cooking during lockdown. 

Katherine is an ambassador for recipe box company Gousto, which has launched a campaign with Marmite to get people experimenting with new flavours. 

Speaking about the partnership, Katherine said: “I am not in the camp of Marmite lovers. We didn't have it growing up in Canada so it was a brand new taste to me.

“But working with Gousto and the amazing Professor Charles Spence I found I actually do love Marmite, it’s just about getting the balance right.

“It adds a salty flavour to caramel sauces and I also now have it in a carbonara or gravy. It's actually such a good ingredient to add to so many meals.”

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