She was on a good career trajectory as a journalist, but then she married the castle chancellor and her life took completely different turn. Today, Alexandra Mynářová is a happy mother of two beautiful sons, she shoots interesting moments from behind the scenes of the Prague Castle and sells her own brand of clothing, the proceeds of which go to helping premature babies. In an interview for LP-Life.cz, she thought back to the challenging beginnings of her medially exploited relationship and revealed that Chancellor Vratislav Mynář enthusiastically changes diapers and lovers his children above all. She just has to make sure he doesn‘t bing on fatty Moravian delicacies too often and pays a little attention to his lifestyle.
By marrying a Chancellor, you pretty much "killed" your career. Do you miss journalism?
I miss it a lot. I admit that at the beginning I didn't expect my life would turn upside down, not to this extent. But I still have it in me, and my husband is sometimes subjected to interrogation. Even though I don‘t point a lamp at his face… not yet. (laughs)
Does it make you feel uncomfortable that you basically ended up on the other side and journalists follow your family now?
I would definitely recommend the experience from the other side to every journalist. Maybe at least some of them would start giving more thought to what they write and how they write it. They might also stop and think about the so-called journalistic shortcut and the fact that when they write a lie, it‘s very hard to fight against it, as well as using allegedly credible sources. What‘s more, they cast a bad light on their profession with false information. Unfortunately, silence means consent. That‘s why I appeal to my husband to defend himself. The situation has improved since he began to refute the lies.
But it is time consuming. When someone lies about him, he makes a video where he shows the whole truth, including the sources and all the relevant documents and evidence. In short, material that could never make it into a report from a biased journalist. In fact, in those videos, he does what journalists should be doing - analytical work with data.
One thing I don't understand at all are journalistic awards. Even those who were identified as liars by the court often appear among the awarded journalists. It is a degradation not only of the award, but of the whole journalistic profession.
If you had known that you would lose your career as a journalit, do you think you would have made a different decision?
I hope my husband won't read this… (laughs) But I have to admit that at the beginning I used to think about it a lot and for some time the feeling that I‘d made a mistake even prevailed. The name Mynářová really hinders me in my profession. But today, with two small children and having gotten to know my husband even in difficult life situations, I wouldn‘t change anything. They are my security, my background, my everything. That‘s the most important thing in life.
At that time, my decision was very much based on my personal life. I had been alone for seven years before I met my husband. I was over thirty, and I simply thought that if no one showed up for another seven years, I might miss my train and regret it one day. I began to think not only as an ambitious woman, but also as a future mother.
So who picked up whom?
My husband picked me up. We met in the corridor at Czech Television when he was on his way to Otázky Václava Moravce. A few days later he wrote me a text message and then he started pursuing me. He was trying for a long time. (laughs)
What were your beginnings like?
In the beginning, normal relationships are full of sunshine, love and gentleness, but this wasn‘t the case with us. It was a lot about quarrels. We broke up a few times, then we got back together. We stood on opposite sides and each of us defended their opinions and desires. Moreover, I couldn‘t do the work I had lived for until then, one I enjoyed, and that had a significant impact on our relationship. And the fact that our relationship was constantly discussed in the media didn‘t help either.
That changed after our children were born. We wanted and still want them to grow up in a calm and harmonious environment. I don‘t think that we‘ve become any less dominant, but we have begun to respect and tolerate each other more. But even now, when my husband wants to address me in a nasty way, he calls me a "journalist". (laughs)
I can‘t believe that, how evil of him… (laughs)
It is true.
In an older interview, you said that he had a very traditional idea of the role of a woman and expected you to give birth to a child and become a housewife. You probably proved him wrong pretty fast…
They say that you can‘t teach an old dog new tricks. And in that sense, I managed to educate my husband a little. You're right, he had the idea that once our son was born, I would stay at home for at least three years and then we would think about what to do next. But I knew it wouldn't be like that. Family is important to me, but I need some form of self-realization. In the end, he let himself be persuaded, because he knew I would have been dissatisfied and unhappy.
Was he a bachelor until then?
He was married for fifteen years, but he and his wife had no children.
Do you ever think about the fact that, even though it sounds terrible, one day he will die before you? After all, he is about 16 years older…
Everything has its pros and cons. I'm glad I met a man who had no children and had them with me for the first time and at an older age. He enjoys and values them more. That's the "pro". The con is that he won't be with them as long as he would have been if he‘d had them, say, at thirty. That's a simple fact. When our children are adults, my husband will be seventy. But if he takes care of himself and thinks about his health, he can easily live long enough to see his grandchildren.
Is it a lot of work to persuade your husband to follow a healthy lifestyle?
It is. And I admit it's a little more complicated. He has a sedentary job and little free time. So my idea is a bit unrealistic. But we make up for it by a healthy diet. And he doesn't smoke, he stopped smoking 30 years ago, so that‘s something. (smile)
What do you like to do in your free time?
We spend time with out children, that‘s our biggest leisure activity now. And I like sports, I go to the theater and the opera, so I'm looking forward to doing that again in September. My husband is going to go camping with our older son in the summer. Good thing we have the younger one and I can't participate. (laughs)
What kind of dad is the Chancellor? Does he pitch in when it comes to changing diapers, or is he more of a dad on the phone, who mainly acts as a supervisor?
You'd be surprised, but he‘s the kind of dad who changes diapers, feeds our little one, and sometimes watches both of them so that mom can have a drink with friends. (laughs)
Rumour has it that you gained 20 kilos during pregnancy, but now one can't tell at all. How did you manage to lose all that weight?
Holy Mary, when I went to the maternity hospital, I weighed 93 kilos! I was ashamed to tell the nurse how heavy I was, and, probably for the first time in my life, I lied and said 89. I simply couldn‘t get the nine at the beginning over my lips. (laughs) But in ten months I managed to drop almost everything, oof...
Only through exercise?
I took inspiration from Petr Havlíček‘s food plan. It was really varied, balanced, I was preparing food for myself five times a day. After all, it had also helped me lose weight after my first pregnancy. But I didn't completely lay off the sweets even while on reduction diet, it didn't work. I exercise a lot, though.
Your first son was born prematurely. And I've noticed that you want to help families who are experiencing something similar now. You have created a fashion collection and part of the proceeds from the sale goes to this cause. Tell me more about it.
My first pregnancy was problem-free until the sixth month. Then it all went south unexpectedly and I was at risk of premature delivery in the 25th week of pregnancy. It was a miracle that it didn't happen and I gave birth only a month too early.
Yet the fear remained in me. And I can‘t get the sight of my son when he was born and had two kilos out of my head. At the same time, he looked like a giant baby compared to the smaller children lying in other incubators, whose birth weight was 700 or 800 grams. The experience was so strong that when I left Podolí, I knew I had to repay my luck in some way. Because I had it and other mothers didn‘t.
I like dresses and I like to dress well, so I came up with a collection of clothes in collaboration with designer Gianni di Leo and together, we are building the Alex by Gianni brand. And it makes me happy when I can take the money from sales and pass it on to those who need it.
Taking care of a severely premature baby is mentally very demanding. And when the family has to deal with lacking resources on top of that… It's awful when there is something that can help your baby alleviate the consequences of premature birth, improve his or her life, but you simply can‘t afford it. My help is aimed at parents like these. We even have a family where the child is still struggling with the consequences of premature birth, and the mother found out that she has cancer. Tragic stories. If I could, I would help everyone.
Do you cooperate with any foundation?
I cooperate with the Endowment Fund for Premature Babies and Their Families, where there are two wonderful women. One of them gave birth to twins in the 26th week. They are now nine years old and completely without consequences. Motivated by her own experience, she started a foundation. And my brand Alex by Gianni contributes to this very foundation. They cover special rehabilitations, orthoses and the like for premature babies.
You and your husband have also lost a child, you had a miscarriage in the fifth month. Was it the worst time in your life?
Undoubtedly. It is the worst time in the life of every woman who loses her child. It helped me a lot that I already had a son at home. He and my husband were a huge support to me.
We were expecting a daughter. Her working name was Růženka. That was the name of my husband's grandmother, whom he loved very much. After birth, our Růženka would be called Adélka. The pregnancy had to be terminated in the 22th week.
And then a second miracle happened. A year and two months after the loss of our daughter, Viktor was born in term. This could actually be a message for any woman who reads this conversation and has recently lost a child. Nothing is impossible, within a year and a day, she can have a healthy child in his arms.
What was going through your head at that time and how did you experience it?
I even entrusted myself to an expert who guided me through the mourning phase. It‘s unrealistic to think that they give you some meds and you'll start smiling in a week. That‘s really not how it works, you have to go through that phase so that your mind wouldn‘t be affected by it in the future. Aside of my husband, my family, friends and also the knowledge that I can have another child helped me a lot.
Did it affect you as a mother? I can imagine you are very worried now…
It affected my first son, whom I watched anxiously. Sometimes I threw a fit when he wanted to take a bite of an apricot that he‘d picked up from the ground in the garden and knocked it out of his hand. It was a huge fear that I would lose him too. Fortunately, I managed to suppress it.
So you don't "disinfect" your second son every few hours?
I used to be anxious about hygiene, too. I immediately sterilized the pacifiers, the dog couldn‘t be in the same room with the baby. But now, even if our Chihuahua comes and licks his little hand, I don‘t hurry to wash him right away. (laughs) It's mainly because he's my second child… Or my third, actually.
What is the main thing you do when have free time now?
Currently, I devote a lot of time to building my clothing brand and helping premature babies. After a short break, I will start shooting videos for Prague Castle again. These are mainly various interesting facts or reports about what‘s going on in different corners of the Castle. Now, for example, we are going to shoot a report on how the dogs of the castle guard are trained. With Jaroslav Sojka (curator of the collections at the Castle, editor's note) we are also planning guided tours of the representation spaces.
The Office of the President of the Republic wants people to return to the Prague Castle, so they keep coming up with a lot of new exhibitions and attractions. For example, the castle guard plays in the courtyard over the weekend. Thanks to that, visitors can listen to a promenade concert during their walk around the castle grounds.
In the fast confession, you mentioned that you cook hot dinners every day. Do you enjoy it?
Cooking is not my passion…
So you were forced into it, right?
I wasn‘t forced, it came naturally. My husband is simply conservative, and although he allows himself to be persuaded in some respects, he doesn‘t compromise on this. And I respect that, just like he respects my ambitions.
Are you good at it?
All the years before, when I had lived alone, I usually made do with something fast. And then I acquired a husband, spoiled from his Moravian mom who used to serve him real home-made food, so I did my best to catch up and learn some new tricks. Back when I was fifteen, my mother wanted to teach me how to cook, but I‘d just roll my eyes and go do something else. And guess what, this year I even baked a cake for my husband's birthday.
So what do you cook most often? I hope you don't adhere strictly to your husband's wishlist…
Not at all, my husband is an exemplary diner, he eats anything I cook. He does prefer those „real“ foods, beef on mushrooms, beef sirloin with cream sauce... But since he doesn't have much exercise, I balance it out with fish, vegetable salad and pasta.
How did his Moravian family receive you?
They received me totally without reservations and right after the first visit I was one of them. The Moravians, after all, are very friendly and cordial. It took me a while to get used to it, but the fact is that even today, they sometimes surprise me with their honesty and helpfulness. Not to mention that I still don't understand the meanings of all their words. A dictionary would be useful at times. (laughs)
Have you already brought home a proper hangover?
Right after the first visit. I was there between the holidays and on New Year's Eve, and the drinking wasn‘t reserved only to New Year's Eve. It was quite challenging. (laughs)
Thank you very much for the interview.
Are you on first name basis with President Zeman?
Are you upset when the president attacks journalists?
Do you ever miss being a TV presenter?
Are men still sending you unsolicited dickpics?
What are you most afraid of?
The motto that guides you through life?
A holiday you remember most fondly?
What is guaranteed to always make you laugh?
Would you and your husband like to have a third child?
Do you cook warm dinners at home every day?
Is your husband a romantic?
What do you argue about most often?
What are your bad habits?
What annoys you the most about the Czechs?
What's your take on the doughnuters/lovetruthers (supporters/opponents of prime minister Babiš, ed.) divison? .
So we're in some sort of bubble?
I think so.