A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were invited to Royal Ascot. There was (as I now know) a pop star in the hospitality box.

I introduced myself and asked what her name was (stunned looks from bystanders). She told me. I was none the wiser. Anyway, I spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting with her.

It turns out her son and my daughter were born in the same hospital on the same day. A nice bonding moment.

A quick Wikipedia search later that evening revealed all. Had I known, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so comfortable to engage in ‘bantz’. When you don’t know the fame involved, you just see the person.

On a flight back from a business trip I was bumped up to first class from World Traveller Plus (sadly, it’s never happened since).

Whilst stretching my legs (lots of room in first class) I struck up a conversation with the person across the aisle. We had one of those tête-à-têtes about life you tend to have in the early hours on long-haul flights.

Shelley-Anne Salisbury admits that she is not very good at recognising celebritiesShelley-Anne Salisbury admits she can't always recognise celebrities (Image: 1000words.co.za)

He told me he was in the entertainment industry. His first child had just been born. He missed his family. I missed mine. We commiserated.

At arrivals, a bank of flashbulbs greeted him. He took it in his stride, switching on a million-dollar smile as a team of people swept him away through the throng of paparazzi and fans.

It struck me then that he might be famous. Turns out he was.

Walking on Hampstead Heath, a friendly couple stopped to pet my dog.

We chatted for a while about the pros and cons of adopting rescues before going our separate ways. It was only when I carried on listening to my playlist and Wonderwall started up that I realised who the guy was. Duh.

My friend Karen (who knows more about celebrities than anyone else I know) is staggered at my celeb ignorance. I see it as a plus. It’s enabled me to have some great conversations with people who just happen to be famous.

I got to see the real person behind the glossy veneer of fame, albeit for a short time, before the shutters inevitably came down.

I bet I know more about the abovementioned celebrities than the tabloids profess to know but, unlike the tabloid press, I won’t be telling.

  • Shelley-Anne Salisbury is a mediator, writer and the co-editor of Suburb News, themediationpod.net.