Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Fearne Cotton opens up about emotional abuse in letter to her daughter

fearne cotton mental health.jpg

There’s a growing awareness around the signs of coercive control. In 2015, a new UK law was introduced to target perpetrators who submit partners, spouses, or other family members to serious psychological and emotional torment, but stop short of violence – and they can now face up to five years in prison.

Now, in a powerful open letter to her 18-month-old daughter, Honey, Fearne Cotton has opened up about her own experiences with a controlling partner.


Read more: Abuse isn’t always physical – so says the law


“You should never have to put up with someone who tries to change you,” she writes. “I once dated someone who asked me not to have any more tattoos, which, as you can imagine, made me instantly go out and get a massive one inked on my back.

“He wasn’t happy, and I couldn’t understand it because it was my body. Women have come way too far in the world for that sort of submission.”

Cotton is now married to Reef guitarist Jesse Wood – and, in the same letter, she has explained to Honey why their relationship works so well.

“Married life to your dad is gorgeous," she says. "I have found my soul mate and a very lovely one at that.

“He is kind, caring, open, honest and very funny.”


Read more: How a PTSD survivor came to be one of the greatest feminist superheroes of our time


However, in a bid to ensure that Honey is not instilled with unrealistic expectations about love, Cotton goes on to stress that her and Wood’s relationship is not perfect – far from it, in fact.

“Yes, he leaves his pants on the bathroom floor and the cupboards open after he has made a cup of tea, but hey, that's marriage.

“No set-up will ever be perfect because life is not supposed to be that way.”

Sharing her top tips for a healthy and happy relationship, Cotton advises: “Speak openly to your partner and always listen. Love them with every inch of your heart, but only if they shower you in the same.

“Find someone who makes your heart sing and illuminates all your best bits.”

We've had every season on today's family walk. Sunday strolls 🌞🌧☁️

A post shared by Fearne (@fearnecotton) on

While Cotton was able to recognise that her ex partner’s behaviour as controlling and emotionally abusive, it can be difficult for many people trapped in toxic relationships to spot the warning signs.

These can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Your partner constantly criticises, humiliates or belittles you
  • Your partner checks up on you or follows you
  • Your partner tries to keep you from seeing your friends or family
  • Your partner has prevented you or made it hard for you to continue studying or going to work
  • Your partner unjustly accuses you of flirting or having affairs with others
  • Your partner has forced you to do something that you really did not want to do
  • Your partner has deliberately destroyed any of your possessions
  • You have changed your behaviour because you are afraid of what your partner might do or say to you
  • Your partner controls your finances
  • Your partner talks down to you
  • Your partner has strong opinions on what you should wear and your appearance
  • Your partner has tried to prevent you from leaving your house
  • Your partner has forced you or harassed you into performing a sexual act
  • Your partner has threatened to reveal or publish private information
  • Your partner threatens to hurt him or herself if you leave them
  • Your partner witholds medication from you
  • Your partner makes you feel guilty all the time
  • Your partner blames you for their bad moods and outbursts
  • You are afraid of your partner

Emotional abuse, essentially, sees your partner bully and berate you as they slowly chip away at your self-esteem. To others, they may seem charming – but, behind closed doors, it’s a very different story. And, all the while, they work hard to cut you off from the people you love and who might be able to recognise your relationship for what it is; toxic.

If you are worried that you might be the victim of emotional abuse, it’s quite likely that you are. If these signs of an abusive relationship sound all too familiar to you, then get out of that situation as soon as possible.

If you have suffered from domestic abuse of any kind, contact Woman’s Aid here, or call the free National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. You can also contact Refuge by clicking here

The full version of Fearne Cotton’s letter can be found in this month’s Cosmopolitan.

Related

fearne cotton.JPG

Fearne Cotton explains how social media can damage our mental health

fearne cotton depression symptoms mind.JPG

Fearne Cotton is channelling her depression into something positive

Fearne Cotton depression

Fearne Cotton opens up about her mental health battle

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Madonna’s touching tribute to a Cruel Intentions reunion

by Nicola Colyer
19 Oct 2017

Anna Faris understands why people were obsessed with her relationship

She and Chris Pratt were often hailed as #relationshipgoals

by Amy Swales
19 Oct 2017

Cher is starring in the Mamma Mia! sequel and we can’t wait for 2018

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

by Susan Devaney
18 Oct 2017

Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey shares shocking sexual harassment story

“I got in my car and cried”

by Susan Devaney
18 Oct 2017

Jennifer Lawrence was forced into a naked line-up by a producer

In the name of weight-loss “inspiration”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Abigail Breslin’s photo reveals how domestic abuse can stay with you

The actor has opened up about the realities of living with PTSD

17 Oct 2017

“Why Liar is proof that TV's depiction of rape is damaging to women”

The proliferation of rape in TV and film is a real problem for the representation of women

by Harriet Hall
17 Oct 2017

Nigella Lawson reveals why red is the ultimate foodie colour

As she tracks her gastronomic love affair with all things crimson

by Stylist
17 Oct 2017

Reese Witherspoon says she was sexually assaulted at 16 by a director

“Producers made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment”

by Amy Swales
17 Oct 2017

Courtney Love tried to warn us about Harvey Weinstein in 2005

This video shows her speaking out against Weinstein over a decade ago

by Susan Devaney
17 Oct 2017