Piers Morgan has admitted he plays up to his combative TV persona but that at home he is a “sea of serenity”.
The Good Morning Britain host, 55, has been making headlines on the ITV show since 2015 when he joined Susanna Reid, 50, as a permanent fixture.
He said that instead of chasing confirmation from colleagues and guests, he aimed to be “divisive and polarising” in the hope of waking people up in the mornings.
Appearing on Gabby Logan’s The Mid.Point Podcast, where he is the first guest of series two, Morgan spoke about his public image.
He said: “Look, there’s a persona that I certainly play up to. I think all television is performance in a way. I certainly think there’s a sort of theatrical element to it as well.
“I certainly play up to that, I don’t chase around trying to be beloved, it would be a fairly lonely journey if I did. So, I prefer to be divisive and polarising, and get everybody going and wake everybody up in the morning.
“It’s the title of my book, you know, Wake Up, however when I do get home and shut the door I’m like everybody else, and I get a nice bottle of wine out, have a chat with the kids, talk to my mum and dad, watch a bit of telly. I’m a sea of serenity.”
The former editor of the Mirror newspaper, who is married to fellow journalist Celia Walden, said he was driven by a desire never to feel at peace with himself.
He added: “I don’t want to be at peace with myself. I don’t want to feel peace. I think that way, early death is imminent.
“If you suddenly feel like you’ve really cracked life, you’re totally at peace. Well, what’s the most left? You know, I want to be constantly challenged.
“I think the way to gain longevity, if you’re lucky with your health, is to constantly test your mind and challenge yourself. All the people that I know, Dame Joan Collins, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, whoever they are, the people that I know … all achieve in their own way is because they constantly drive themselves.
“They’ve never said ‘I’m at peace’. They’ve never said, ‘Oh, I can relax. Now let me retire. Let me sit in the garden’.
“The stat that within five years of retirement most people die. Because they give up and they think, ‘Oh yeah, I’m pretty happy with my lot’. I want to be constantly dissatisfied with my lot.”
The Mid.Point Podcast with Gabby Logan is available on all major podcast platforms or https://podfollow.com/midpoint/view