We all know and love Fearne Cotton. The broadcaster has been on our screens and radios for over 20 years, hosting hit TV shows such as Celebrity Juice and regularly presenting on Radio 1 and Radio 2.
But in recent years, Cotton has stepped out of the limelight to pursue a personal project, Happy Place. Through her hit podcast and its accompanying books, she has put the focus on breaking the stigmas around mental health.
With one in four people in the UK living with a mental health problem – a figure that is only set to rise because of the pandemic – Cotton’s candid conversations about depression and anxiety are much needed.
In her most recent relatable and insightful discussion about mental health, she has just opened up about the reality of how depression affected the seemingly ‘perfect’ career that we associate her with.
Speaking on the Thanks A Million podcast with Angela Scanlon, Cotton said that despite having “no work at all” and “no safety net” when she quit radio, she thinks a bit of stillness is “no bad thing” and that it was “worth the jump”.
Cotton also had to listen to her body and make a difficult decision over covering Zoe Ball’s popular show: “I loved it, I did it for about a year, and it was amazing. And then I had to have a really honest conversation with lovely Helen at Radio 2 and just say, ‘I don’t sleep at all the night before. And I do the show for [sometimes] two weeks plus and it’s going to make me ill.’
“I just think you have to look at your health, which is the most important thing we have… I cried my eyes out making that decision, like I bawled my eyes out because I didn’t want to not do it.
“But I think sometimes we have to honour what our bodies are telling us.”
Cotton explained how depression played a role in her walking away from radio and Celebrity Juice: “There are a few things I’m still working on from that time. One of them is confidence, because I totally lost it when I didn’t have any at all, which has really hindered me in my work life and somewhat in my personal life…
“My working life, I really lost confidence… I literally couldn’t put myself out there in the way that I used to.”
Talking about her fear over a recent appearance on Sunday Brunch, she added: “[Before] I wouldn’t even think about it. I would feel completely calm, enjoy it, excited about going on. But I think the lack of confidence that I lost during this period of depression, I still find it really hard to summon that in those very exposing live TV ways where anyone could ask me anything at any point.
“And it’s like anybody could say anything, do anything. I used to love it, get a kick out of it, and now I feel like a soft peach, like I’m too exposed and I find it really scary.”
It just goes to show that we should never assume people are OK based on their outside appearances and achievements, and that anybody can be affected by depression.
You can listen to the full interview with Fearne Cotton on Thanks A Million with Angela Scanlon.
Find more information about mental health and where to find help on Mind’s website.
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…