WITH her stunning looks, a promising TV career and hunky rugby star husband, Jess Impiazzi seemed to have it all.
But the 31-year-old reality star’s world began to crumble in 2018 as her marriage collapsed and she tried to take her own life.
Jess, best known for her appearances on Celebrity Big Brother and Ex On The Beach, was in Melbourne, Australia, with husband Denny Solomona, 27, visiting his family when she says she found out he had cheated on her.
She walked out on him and their 15-month marriage and went to a nearby hostel. While drinking alone there, she believed suicide was her only option.
But two years on, Jess — whose memoir Silver Linings is out today — has turned her life around.
She claims: “On the second night of visiting his family I found out he had cheated on me.
“I thought, ‘This cannot be happening’, and went off to a hostel and was drinking a lot. I had never felt so lost in my life and I made an attempt on my life. Denny knew I was in trouble and sent paramedics.
“Afterwards, I thought, ‘This is your rock-bottom, now it’s time to build. There is no chance you are living like this any more’.
“Since that day I can see my own emotions clearly. And I’ve had no physical side-effects. I make sure I am fit and healthy.”
It was not the first time Jess had tried to take her own life.
Her first suicide attempt came when she was 18 and buckling under the pressure of PTSD and depression following a troubled childhood where she regularly witnessed domestic violence in her home.
The actress-turned-glamour model gave up a scholarship at The Italia Conti Academy Of Theatre Arts in 2007 to care for her mum, Debbie, who had suddenly gone blind.
She had also been left traumatised when her nephew Charlie died of meningitis aged just 13 months the year before.
She says: “Things were tough. My mum went completely blind when I was 17, which was really hard to navigate through.”
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Debbie, who worked as a project coordinator for Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline, lost her sight after developing the rare condition, uveal effusion syndrome.
Jess adds: “It was one thing after another and my younger self couldn’t understand that. I was really, really depressed.
“I remember being stuck and thinking, ‘I’ve been unhappy my entire life, and what is the point?’ The trauma of what I’d grown up with took its toll.
“I couldn’t find any joy and I couldn’t bear it. I tried to take my life, but my step-dad saved me.”
‘Growing up in sheer horror and fear’
Jess has now put her battle into words, with her Silver Linings memoir.
She says: “The title of the book is because that’s all I ever talk about: Finding the silver lining to a cloud.
“It is sad to look back and see my younger self. I’m so grateful for life now.
“When you experience traumas in your childhood you don’t grow up as you’re supposed to. I was growing up in sheer horror and fear. As a child you’re so terrified.
“You have screaming, shouting, attacking and police coming around. It really does impact you. Three times a week, sometimes, I would be calling police between the ages of nine and 12.”
She adds: “It’s not something that just goes away. You can’t sweep it under the carpet. I really struggled to focus at school. I didn’t realise I had PTSD.”
Making a name for herself in the glamour industry, Jess went on to become a lads’ mag favourite and also posed for The Sun’s Page 3.
Talking about her desire to model, she says: “I didn’t grow for ages because I had a problem with my pituitary gland.
“I was put on oestrogen tablets because doctors were concerned that if I hit puberty at that height I would have only been three foot tall. Kids’ comments left me feeling like, ‘I’m not a woman, my friends have got boobs and I’ve got nothing’.
“Now I look back and think that is probably why I did the glamour modelling. I never felt that I was an attractive woman. But at the time it boosted my confidence.”
Jess got her first taste of fame in 2015 on MTV’s Ex On The Beach, with her ex, Rogan O’Connor, 31.
Jess, who has also dated Kelly Brook’s ex David McIntosh, 35, and was briefly linked to Blue singer Simon Webbe, 41, says: “I was young, and just having fun. I made decisions there, like being intimate on camera, I regretted.”
Jess is relieved reality shows, such as Love Island, no longer show sex scenes.
She adds: “What someone does at 18 is going to stay there forever. I don’t think that is fair and it is important TV producers protect people.”
Jess raised eyebrows in 2016 after striking up a friendship with actor Charlie Sheen, 55. And while there were rumours of a romance, she insists it was a platonic friendship.
Jess says: “I’ve not spoken to him for a long time, but he was just a really nice man. We were never dating, he even joked about it, saying he wished the rumour was true.”
Jess won over the public during Celebrity Big Brother in 2018, which saw her debate feminism and buddy up with actress Amanda Barrie during the show’s Year of the Woman series.
Jess added: “I’m very grateful for Celebrity Big Brother. I met people who inspired me. Amanda gave me a kick up the butt to get back into acting.”
In 2019, she moved to LA with then-boyfriend, ex-Hollyoaks star Charlie Clapham, 29, to pursue their acting careers.
Jess had already starred opposite Calum Best in independent 2017 film A Dangerous Game.
Five months after the move, the pair split, but that did not put the brakes on Jess’s Hollywood dream.
She has filmed Hollywood movie R.I.A, starring former Superman Dean Cain.
She says: “R.I.A also stars Luke Goss and Kimberly Wyatt – it’s very exciting. I’ve got Zoom rehearsals now for my next film, a zombie movie.”
For more on Jess, including how she helped police catch a paedophile when she was 12, visit thesun.co.uk/fabulous.
- Silver Linings, by Jess Impiazzi, by Hashtag Press, £17.99. Out now.
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