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Model and TV personality Christine McGuinness has revealed how she previously battled poverty, anorexia, alcohol, bullying and sexual abuse in her explosive new book.
The mum-of-three and wife to TV star Paddy has told how she has had to overcome incredible odds to get to where she currently is and how she is still haunted by the chilling moments in her past.
Sharing the details in her new book, A Beautiful Nightmare, Christine, 33, said "I’m proud to be Patrick’s wife. But I am Christine and want people to know about my life – before and after I took my husband’s name."
Before she found fame on ITV's Real Housewives of Cheshire, Christine worked as a dancer and model.
Born in Blackpool and raised on a council estate in Halewood, Merseyside. Christine speaks openly about her "humble beginnings" and her mum Joanne who was a cleaner and dad Johnny was an engineer.
After welcoming their second child Billie-Jo, a year older, Christine's parents split and Joanne later had Christine’s half-brother Jamie.
Speaking candidly, Christine penned: "Times were hard and mum was juggling cleaning jobs just to be able to afford to have the heating on and put food on the table.
"Coming up to Christmases and birthdays, she’d be exhausting herself working so that she could buy presents."
With all the family woes that was taking place in the family household, no one noticed Christine’s issues with food.
The model went on to develop anorexia at the age of eight – due to being fussy with food, rather than body image.
Years later, Christine's previous battle with anorexia affected her fertility.
Although she is now mother to twins, Penelope and Leo, eight, and Felicity, five, Christine was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which affected her having when having children.
In order to get pregnant, she needed to gain weight to restart her periods.
She said: "Patrick would give me food in little dribs and drabs, so I didn’t even notice. It was in such a soft way. Instead of confronting me with a piled-up plate, he’d say, ‘Oh, try this’.
"He knew I was struggling with my anorexia. He started organising little Come Dine With Me parties, for us and close friends, because he knew I’d never eat in a restaurant.
"He was clever, he figured out a way to get me to eat. It worked and slowly my periods began reappearing."
But this wasn't only Christine's heartbreaking tale from her past. From the age of nine to 13, she was sexually abused.
She explained: "He would take me to his house to watch disturbing videos. I never understood what he got out of forcing me to view this extreme violence.
"He’d also take me to places like the beach and after playing in the sea he would tell me he didn’t have any dry clothes. I would then have to travel home naked. If we went to a day out at a swimming pool, he would come into the changing rooms with me.
"Now I know that’s because he was a paedophile. My sleeping pattern these days is worse than dreadful at the best of times. It takes me ages to drift off and I wake after every hour, or couple of hours.
"And I believe that’s because of the videos he showed me.
"I can’t unsee it and most nights I have nightmares. It’s absolutely awful."
Trying to handle the horrific abuse, at the age of 13 Christine turned to alcohol to blot out the trauma of relentless bullying by girls who became jealous of her popularity with boys and because she had started to enter beauty pageants.
However, her rape ordeal came after she had a skinful. Christine said: "It happened at a house party and, as usual, I’d been drinking. In a drunken stupor I got into bed. A boy came in and had sex with me, against my will.
"I remember saying ‘No’ and tried to push him off. I blamed myself massively. I know as an adult it wasn’t my fault, but I think if I wasn’t drunk it wouldn’t have happened.
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"But I’m OK, thank God. It’s why I’m really protective of my children, the girls especially.
The star said she is now thankful that she knows her children will never have a childhood like hers.
She also admitted that even though she has had no counseling for her past traumas, she hasn't had any alcohol since her teens.
She expressed: "I haven’t had a drink since my teen years, not even on my wedding day, and I don’t miss it. I’m not saying I’ll never have alcohol again, maybe I will on my 40th birthday. I learnt my lessons about the dangers of alcohol early on."
Thankfully Christine finally found her way to happiness. She said: "There’s nothing else that can happen that will knock me back down, so I’m just trying to enjoy the second part of my life as best I can.
* Preorder Christine McGuinness: A Beautiful Nightmare (RRP £20, out 25 Nov) and save £5 with the offer code XA9. Order online at Mirrorbooks.co.uk
If you're worried about your health or the health of somebody else, you can contact SEED eating disorder support service on 01482 718130 or on their website, https://seedeatingdisorders.org.uk.
If you have been affected by this story, contact Rape Crisis England & Wales for free confidential support and information on 08088029999 or their website or 08088010302 if you're calling from Scotland.
You can contact the Domestic and Sexual Abuse helpline on 0808 802 1414 if you are in Ireland.
- Christine McGuinness
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