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Fearne Cotton discusses her 10-year bulimia battle for the first time

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Fearne Cotton has candidly discussed her 10-year battle with bulimia for the first time.

In a new interview on How To Fail With Elizabeth Day podcast, the TV and radio presenter, 38, revealed she struggled with the eating disorder throughout her 20s, and managed to ‘let go’ of the ‘bad habit overnight’ when she became a mother.

The media personality – who shares son Rex, six and daughter Honey, four, with husband Jesse Wood, 43 – insisted her experience with bulimia was caused by Imposter Syndrome from establishing success on TV at the tender age of 15. 

Candid: Fearne Cotton discussed her 10-year battle with bulimia for the first time on Wednesday (pictured in July)

Candid: Fearne Cotton discussed her 10-year battle with bulimia for the first time on Wednesday (pictured in July)

Host Fearne kicked off her career as a GMTV children’s presenter for The Disney Club in 1996, before going on to front Top of the Pops, the Red Nose Day telethons and even became the first regular female presenter of the Radio 1 Chart Show in 2007.

And while she appeared to be leading a happy lifestyle, the Northwood native was hiding her battle with bulimia from her nearest and dearest, as well as the world.

On ‘not feeling good or smart enough’ at her job, Fearne admitted her stress eventually manifested into the mental health condition.

The blonde explained: ‘The main one was a disordered ­relationship with my body and food for 10 years. 

Past battle: The TV and radio presenter, 38, revealed she struggled with the eating disorder throughout her 20s (pictured on Finger Tips in 2002)

Past battle: The TV and radio presenter, 38, revealed she struggled with the eating disorder throughout her 20s (pictured on Finger Tips in 2002)

Priorities: The media personality - who is mother to son Rex, six and daughter Honey, four - managed to 'let go' of the 'bad habit overnight' when she became a parent

Priorities: The media personality – who is mother to son Rex, six and daughter Honey, four – managed to ‘let go’ of the ‘bad habit overnight’ when she became a parent

Fearne insisted her experience with bulimia was caused by Imposter Syndrome from establishing success on TV at the tender age of 15 (pictured ea

Fearne insisted her experience with bulimia was caused by Imposter Syndrome from establishing success on TV at the tender age of 15 (pictured ea

‘It’s been this weird secret I’ve felt a little bit embarrassed of, a little bit ashamed of, a little bit worried about. I’m still worried now about what people are going to think when I share this side of myself.

‘I had this new release I invented for myself – to have bulimia. I had that on/off for a good decade of my life.’

Sharing what would spark her on/off battle, the TV star added: ‘In the beginning of my 20s it was quite intense and sort of ruled everything.

‘In my later 20s it was more like a bad habit I’d kick into if something emotional was happening or if I felt out of control. It was my go-to thing but wasn’t as regular.’

Struggles: Fearne insisted her experience with bulimia was caused by Imposter Syndrome from establishing success on TV at the tender age of 15 (pictured in 2000)

Struggles: Fearne insisted her experience with bulimia was caused by Imposter Syndrome from establishing success on TV at the tender age of 15 (pictured in 2000)

On the low: While she appeared to be leading a happy lifestyle, the Northwood native was hiding her battle with bulimia from the world (pictured in February 2003)

On the low: While she appeared to be leading a happy lifestyle, the Northwood native was hiding her battle with bulimia from the world (pictured in February 2003)

WHAT IS BULIMIA NERVOSA?

According to the NHS, bulimia is ‘an eating disorder and mental health condition’

‘People who have bulimia go through periods where they eat a lot of food in a very short amount of time and then make themselves sick’, the website adds,

The eating disorder is most common in young women, and sufferers often have a distorted image of their figures

Symptoms include: 

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  • Binge eating
  • Purging
  • Fear of putting on weight
  • Critical about weight and body shape
  • Extreme mood changes

Confessing only her mother Lyn knew she suffered from bulimia, the former Lorraine stand-in presenter elaborated: ‘It was something no one knew about me because at times I was very overexposed.

‘Partly it was about control. I had this first chunk of my life doing normal family things and the next chunk switched up and it was bonkers at times so it was a way of feeling I was calling the shots.

‘I am sad to look back and see it was so out of control. I never binged and puked up. I ate regular meals but then got rid of it all and it felt like a release.’

The ex-Xtra Factor host also said her mum will ‘probably be quite upset’ about her public admission as ‘it was a horrendous time.’

In 2011, Fearne started dating the son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, and ‘desperately’ wanted to become a mother soon after they embarked on a romance.

On parenthood marking her turning point, the Only In America star shared: ‘I’d met Jesse and wasn’t regularly purging but it would still be a fallback if things felt stressful. At this point I desperately wanted to have a baby.

‘Getting pregnant, I let go of all of it. I ate everything in sight. It just went overnight.It came back, the feelings of loathing about my body after the birth, but I didn’t go back to the illness. 

‘I knew I had to stick to a very practical way of looking at food to sustain my health for myself and my newborn baby.’

According to the NHS, bulimia is ‘an eating disorder and mental health condition’, with sufferers ‘going through periods where they eat a lot of food in a very short amount of time and then make themselves sick’.

The eating disorder is most common in young women, and sufferers often have a distorted image of their figures.

Symptoms include purging, binge eating, mood changes, swollen glands and a fear of putting on weight. 

'I let go of all of it': In 2011, Fearne started dating musician Jesse Wood and wanted to become a mother after they embarked on a romance (pictured pregnant in October 2012)

‘I let go of all of it’: In 2011, Fearne started dating musician Jesse Wood and wanted to become a mother after they embarked on a romance (pictured pregnant in October 2012)

Moving on: Fearne has been married to the son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood since July 2014 (pictured in May)

Moving on: Fearne has been married to the son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood since July 2014 (pictured in May)

Fearne has been open about her mental health issues in the past, and last year, she revealed her battle with depression started three years previously when she was working at Radio 1. 

‘I went through a really bad patch, where I became a much rawer version of myself,’ she told Red magazine. ‘[It lasted] over a year. Maybe two.

‘There were some exceedingly dark bits where I thought, “I don’t understand how to trust, how to be me, how to feel OK with eyes on me”.’ She said that the depression dealt her a ‘huge confidence blow’ which left her feeling unable to do live television.

She credited her husband with helping her through her difficult time, despite lots of ‘arguments’. 

Open: The BBC star has discussed her mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, in the past (pictured earlier this year)

Open: The BBC star has discussed her mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, in the past (pictured earlier this year)

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