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Kerry Katona: Exclusive Interview

Kerry Katona chats to Celebrity Secrets about raising five kids as a single mum – plus why she’s on a mission to help others overcome addiction

By Claire Muffett-Reece

Kerry, you’re two stone lighter from following a healthy lifestyle. Why fitness?

‘Exercising for me is crucial for my mental health. For me it’s not about how skinny you are – instead it’s about how your mind’s set upstairs. That’s where it all starts, and that’s how I got back into my routine, doing my yoga every morning and eating well.’

You’re also working with Skinny Revolution…

‘It all started when I got offered the injection from the brand, which curbs your appetite and kickstarts the weight loss. I thought, “I’ll give it a go”, and it really worked! You see the weight falling off, which gives you the motivation to start exercising.’

What do you say to fans who say promoting Skinny Revolution is misleading because you had a mini tummy tuck?

‘I had that years ago and put all the weight back on! And who determines what the right way of losing weight is? If it works for you then that’s great. It could be surgery, it could be an injection or it could be the gym. Is there really a right way to get your confidence back?

You said you’ve put a bit of weight back on. Do you feel better for it?

‘Yes, as my face looked gaunt. For me it’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy. I could be a size 16 exercising and eating healthily, but as long as I feel good that’s all that matters. The weight loss, the body weight, your dress size; that’s a bonus for me. It’s not about being skinny and successful, it’s about having a great mindset – and everything else will fall into place.’

What was your diet like before the plan?

‘I was in a really unhappy and toxic relationship, so food and alcohol became a comfort. Now I’ve gone from drinking three bottles of Prosecco a day to hardly a thing – I don’t even touch alcohol at home! I used to not eat until I was starving, then get something stodgy like a burger and chips. Now when I have something nice and healthy, I’m energetic and feel better about myself.’

Did you really drink three bottles of Prosecco a day?

‘I was a different person back then, and now I don’t drink at home at all. I’ve never been one of those girls that goes home and thinks, “oh, I’ll have a nice glass of wine to chill out”. If you’re going to have a drink, go out and have a drink! It’s very rare that I actually go out – even when we were filming Celebs Go Dating in Tenerife I was in bed by nine!’

It seems the press are always going to pick on you…

‘It’s the society that we live in. Men have such a better deal than women! Just look at people like Robbie Williams and Rod Stewart – they sit on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and you’ll hear stories about this drug deal and that. Everyone in the audience is cracking up! Now imagine me in their place, saying, “Oh I was in a car, off my face, I was like a bulldog chewing a waffle!” The press would have a field day, because I’m a woman and I’m a mother. It’s the society we live in, and what’s even worse is that it’s women doing it to other women. We should be straightening each other’s crowns – not knocking them off. When someone’s down you should say, “you can do this, get back up.” I’ve had to be my own hero – no-one’s helped and I’ve had to do it all on my own.’

Being a single mum to five kids has got to be hard. How’s Molly getting on living in Ireland?

‘She’s doing really well. She comes home every holiday, and recently she came home for three weekends on the trot. She’s got her studies, which is really important, but I miss her incredibly.’

How do you cope with all the kids when you’re working?

‘I have to rely on friends at times to pick DJ up from school. It’s not easy! I make sure to spend as much time with them all as possible, and love taking them on family days out. We went to the Harry Potter studio tour the other day, which was brilliant. The kids loved it!’

Does it ever get you down?

‘Like most parents I’ll have a good cry from time to time. It’s when the washing’s coming out of my ears, and the kids have shoved crisp packets down the side of the sofa! Sometimes I don’t think they understand how hard I work, and that I’m doing it so they can have a better life, so yes, it does get on top of me sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t see how amazing my kids are. They are so well mannered and have got beautiful personalities. I just love watching them grow.’

Is life at home chaotic or super-organised?

‘Organised – it has to be! At the minute downstairs is spotless, but my bedroom has clothes everywhere, because I’ve been living out of a suitcase for work. I had to ask Lilly to put the washing on for me the other day. I’m very much a believer in a clean and tidy house is a clean and tidy mind, though.’

What’s a typical day like when you’re not working?

‘No two days are the same for me. I’ll get up at 5am, do yoga, put a wash on and tidy downstairs before the kids get up, then I make their breakfast and take them to school. When I get back I like to watch a bit of This Morning, but the problem is if I sit down it’s hard to get going again! I’ll change the beds, wash the towels, clean the toilets, and all of a sudden it’s time to do the school run again!’

Would you ever consider hiring a cleaner to help?

‘I had one years ago, but when you’ve got five kids that all need new school uniform and want to go on school trips, it’s expensive! I don’t want someone else coming in and cleaning when I can do it – I prefer to stay busy.’

Do you have time to catch up with your mum?

‘I saw my mum yesterday, but before that I hadn’t seen her since Christmas because I was working up north. I took DJ and Heidi with me and it was lovely to catch up.’

You grew up in care – do you think you’ll ever foster yourself?

‘Not a lot of people know this, but I have already fostered. For me it was a massive emotional trigger, because the young girl who was living with us was going through an ordeal very similar to what I went through, and it brought a lot of memories flooding back. I only had her for six weeks, as it was only ever a short term thing.’

How are things with you and Brian now?

‘We’re good. Brian and I have always got on, on and off, but it’s not like I pick up the phone and ask him for advice or anything. We don’t speak on a daily basis, but we’re in a much better place.’

Let’s talk about your plans for the year. What are you working on right now?

‘I want to be a motivational speaker and perform seminars and talks. I want people to know that no matter where you are in life, what race you are, or what sex or age you are, that depression, addiction and anxiety doesn’t care. I want people to know that even if it gets hold of you, you can turn it all around. If I can do it anybody can – everything will be okay in the end. Keep fighting, keep going and talk about it.’

Anything else on the radar?

‘I’ve got my own boot camp coming up called Bouncing Back with Kerry. It’s all exercise-based but it also teaches you to love yourself again. I used to be full of self-loathing – some of the conversations I’d have with myself were awful. Why say it to yourself? If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anybody else to love you?’

Have you cried over any of the reports you’ve read about yourself in the press?

‘They’re not worth it. It took me a long time to get to that stage, especially in my dark days when I was married to Mark [Croft]. Back then it really affected me, but when I got myself sorted, it was as if a fog had lifted. At the end of the day it’s entertainment for people. You pick up a magazine to read about somebody you feel like you know, for a bit of escapism from your own world. I’m honestly not affected by it in the same way anymore.’

Let’s move on to an entirely different topic: fashion. How would you describe your personal style?

‘Comfy! I’m very much quick and easy when it comes to fashion. I don’t mind getting dolled up every now and then, but I’m one of those girls who can’t wait to get her shoes and bra off and put on her PJs.’

Do you prefer high street or designer?

‘High street all the way. I do like the odd pair of designer trainers, but apart from that it’s definitely high street. I love New Look and River Island – you can’t go wrong!’

What about bags and shoes?

‘I’ve got a ridiculous amount, but it’s very rare you actually see me in heels! I can’t even remember the last time I went out clubbing – I must have been in my twenties!’

Moving on to beauty. Why pink hair?

‘I’ve been lilac, I’ve been short and I’ve even had it shaved. I like to mix my look up. I don’t follow a trend – it was literally a case of me waking up one day and fancying pink!’

Are you quite low maintenance with your beauty regime?

‘Definitely – you won’t find me with a face full of make-up down the gym! I was actually having individual lash extensions for a while, but you have to keep them maintained when they fall out, so I soon stopped going. I find that level of maintenance too time consuming as a busy mum.’

Any plans for a summer holiday yet?

‘I can’t wait to have a holiday, but I haven’t got anything planned at the minute. It will be me on my own with all the kids, and we’ll probably hire a villa in a resort, somewhere where we can be on our own but also take advantage of the facilities. Wherever we go we’ll have a great time – I’m like a big kid when we go away!’

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