Fearne Cotton has spoken about her depression in a frank interview with Angela Scanlon’s podcast, Thanks A Million.
The TV and radio presenter, 39, admitted that depression is part of her everyday life and that it knocked her ‘work confidence’ partly leading her to leave her roles on Celebrity Juice and at BBC Radio.
‘[Depression] is a chapter that I often in my work talk around, but not really about it because there’s so much of it that I’m still processing and still have a bit of a hangover with,’ the mother-of-two explained. ‘A lot of my work has come from that area of my life where I fell into a pretty big hole of depression and not much around me seemed to make sense.
Honest: Fearne Cotton has spoken about her depression in a frank interview with Angela Scanlon’s podcast, Thanks A Million
‘I felt very isolated and very alone in my experience. It was long before I even dared use the word depression…
‘Now, it’s an everyday part of my life, whether it’s friends who know that I’ll open up about it or mostly in my work. Before this point, I would never have dared talk about my mental health. I don’t think I even knew what that was.
‘Obviously, by default, I felt very alone in that due to the fact that I hadn’t had those conversations. 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.’
Taking a toll: The TV and radio presenter, 39, admitted that depression is part of her everyday life and that it knocked her ‘work confidence’ partly leading her to leave her roles on Celebrity Juice [pictured] and at BBC Radio
Fearne hosted a mid-morning show on BBC Radio 1 from 2009-2015, after which she sat in for Zoe Ball on Radio 2, before quitting. She was a team captain on Celebrity Juice from 2008-2018.
‘I still have this weird hangover,’ she went on. ‘I willingly went onto Sunday Brunch at the weekend, which is always the most joyful experience, they feed you, they give you alcohol at 10AM, it’s a very nice experience…
‘[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.’
Open: Fearne cites her mental health as the reason for leaving these shows, and only has glowing things to say about the experience of being on them otherwise
Fearne cites her mental health as the reason for leaving these shows, and only has glowing things to say about the experience of being on them otherwise.
‘Honestly, when I did my Radio 1 show, it was just a joy. Towards the end of it, there was perhaps some stuff going on for me but, really, for the majority of my Radio 1 career, it did feel easier, I guess,’ she said.
She added: ‘ I left Radio 1 and I was about to have my daughter, Honey, my second child. I had no work at all. None. Zero jobs. I had no safety net. I think I was sort of busy dealing with that. And then all of the other stuff sort of came later, really.
‘But it was worth the jump. I think having a bit of a break or a bit of stillness is no bad thing. And it’s where you start to potentially have ideas and to just think of life in a new way.’
Candid: ‘My working life, I really lost confidence… I literally couldn’t put myself out there in the way that I used to,’ she said
On why she left her position as Zoe Ball’s stand-in, Fearne said: ‘I’m like the biggest Zoe Ball fan, I have been since I was a teenager, so then to cover for her show was just like the biggest honour ever.
‘And 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 somethings two weeks plus and it’s going to make me ill.”
‘You know, 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.’
THANKS A MILLION BY ANGELA SCANLON IS AVAILABLE ON APPLE, SPOTIFY AND ALL PODCAST PROVIDERS.