Katie Piper is tired of people writing about her ‘happy ending’

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Kayleigh Dray
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Katie Piper had sulphuric acid thrown into her face in 2008, leaving her partially blind and with horrific burns and lifelong scarring, all of which required more than 300 surgical procedures.

The philanthropist, campaigner, and TV star went on to set up a charitable organisation, the Katie Piper Foundation, to help burns victims and people suffering from disfiguring injuries. And, in 2015, she married Richard Sutton, the father of her two-year-old daughter, Belle.

However she has admitted that she is weary of people writing that she has found her ‘happy ever after’. Because, no matter how much Disney films may claim otherwise, securing a ‘true love’s kiss’ and a big white wedding does not mark the end of a woman’s story.

“My life is written about as though I’ve had this idyllic ending,” she writes in a powerful new essay for The Telegraph, “but a marriage is something you have to work at.”

Piper goes on to explain that, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, her goals were not to get married, or become a writer, or even to set up her own charity foundation; instead, she was focused on more immediate and pressing matters.

“[I was worried about] things like wanting to be able to swallow again, to see, or not walking out the front door and having such severe PTSD that I thought people were going to lunge at me,” she says.

It was a far cry from her life before the attack, which saw her living a “hand-to-mouth existence” as an aspiring model and TV presenter.

“I’ll never know what direction my life would have taken if I hadn’t been attacked. Who knows, I might have ended up on QVC, or opening my own salon? I always wanted to write [though], and today it’s the thing I most enjoy. I’m very grateful to have the platform I have to do that.”

Piper was attacked by Stefan Sylvestre in 2008. He had been hired by Piper’s ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch, who is currently serving two life sentences in prison. Sylvestre, who was also jailed, is serving a minimum 12-year sentence.

Earlier this year, she gave a highly-charged and emotional talk at Stylist Live, during which she described how she came back from the brink after the attack.

“This is not a story of misery,” she told the audience. “This is a story of how strong the human mind can be.”

Piper continued: “I chose to be a survivor. Now I love my scars because they gave me my new life.

“One of the most powerful tools we all possess is human spirit. To me, that’s what radiates beauty. We’ve all been touched by it – but no one has ever been touched by the perfect skin.”

And, in her latest essay, Piper has made sure to echo this sentiment.

“Words like ‘inspirational’ and ‘brave’ are bandied around so easily,” she writes, “but there’s no such thing as a superhero – and celebrity is a cult.

“This inspirational spirit is in everyone… most of us don’t draw on it until we’re pushed to the limit.”

Since the attack, Piper has written a number of books, the latest of which – named Confidence: The Secret – reveals how she overcame her own insecurities after the attack, and built up her self-esteem.

Piper has also penned numerous advice columns and has appeared in TV shows, with her documentary My Beautiful Face being viewed more than 3.5 million times. 


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.