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Davina McCall on why she feels the need to “fake” being happy

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Kayleigh Dray
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Davina McCall

“I am often guilty of thinking, ‘No one really wants to see me when I’m unhappy,’” admits Davina McCall.     

Davina McCall is one of the UK’s most loved TV personalities, with the 49-year-old first flexing her presenting muscles on MTV Europe back in 1992. Since then, she has appeared almost constantly on our screens, working on shows such as Big Brother, This Morning, The Jump, Long Lost Family, and The Nightly Show.

However, despite her hugely successful career and positively infectious enthusiasm for life, McCall has – like so many of us – experienced tragedies and difficulties behind closed doors. She has spoken honestly about her fraught relationship with her late mother (“I felt she’d done something to betray me or hurt me”) and how it led her to seek solace in drugs: in fact, she recently opened up about overcoming a long-term heroin addiction when she was younger.

And, in a new interview with Fearne Cotton on her podcast Happy Place, McCall has admitted that she often forces a smile in a bid to prevent others from becoming uncomfortable in her company.

“Sometimes I’m faking it,” she said. “Sometimes I’m struggling. There’s been a few occasions where I’m struggling to see any positives in this at all.”

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McCall added: “Happiness is marvelous. I love it when I’m happy, but I’m not always happy. It might look like I’m always happy because I quite often just show the bits when I’m happy. But I am often guilty of thinking, “No one really wants to see me when I’m unhappy’.”

The star continued: “The times when I’ve been honest – I posted on Christmas Day about loneliness and it wasn’t that I was massively lonely, but I did think it’s a tough day – and the feedback I got from that. It’s funny when you do put yourself out there a bit, you get good stuff back.”

The Instagram post to which McCall was referring to was, of course, the one in which she reached out to anybody “feeling lonely”over the season. 

After wishing everybody a happy Christmas, the presenter – who had not long announced her split from her partner of 17 years, Matthew Robertson – said: “I think it’s one of those days isn’t it? ‘Where, sometimes even if you’re in a huge group of people it’s quite possible to feel lonely or if you’ve lost someone you really care about, and this is your first Christmas without them, or if you couldn’t get home to your family.

“Anyway, I’m sending everybody a great big Christmassy hug,” she added. “It’s only a day, and if you are feeling terrible, cuddle up with a duvet, make yourself some food as that’s a nice act of self-love, and go watch some funny Christmas films. ‘Lots of love, and I’ll be back at some point on Instagram this week.”

The post went down a storm on social media, with many thanking McCall for her frankness – something which she has long been famed for.

Indeed, in 2017, the presenter decided to share the eight hard truths she lives her life by, mixing good advice with unavoidable facts of life. It began, quite simply, with the words: “Everyone you love is going to die.”

McCall’s hard truths go on to include relationship tips (“the perfect partner doesn’t exist”) and guidelines on when it’s appropriate to sweat the small stuff.

And her final words of advice?

“Figure out a way, or don’t complain.”

McCall captioned her no-nonsense list: “This is all so true.”

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McCall has also shared her life advice with the world via a book titled Lessons I’ve Learned (with the strapline ‘I’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to’) in September 2016, in which she opens up about everything from coping with the death of her beloved sister, Caroline, to living with her ex.

Speaking to the Mail Online about her book, McCall said: “I really believe that I am a work in progress, I feel as though I am learning every day. I learn from every situation, every person I meet.

“Sometimes I am unwilling at the time to see it… maybe the lesson hurt or embarrassed me and it’s only with hindsight I can feel how much it taught me. At other times I am desperate to learn – I may be stuck in some emotional rut or a parenting quandary or a self-esteem collapse and turn to others for help.”

Images: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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