As the anchor woman of Loose Woman, Andrea McLean is calm, professional and super smiley, but as her new book, reveals, last year behind the smile was a great deal of pain.
In This Girl Is On Fire, which is out on 29 September, she recounts feeling so low that she had thoughts about taking her own life. While she didn’t act on them, what followed was a year in therapy to help her fight her inner demons.
One person who’s been by her side supporting her through the crisis is husband Nick Feeney. Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Feeney said that it was really hard to see his wife go through such a horrible time in her life.
“To have seen what's going on – the difference with me is I'm not reading it in a book, I've seen it – and it's just horrendous,” he told host Kate Thornton.
“It's hard – and all I want to do now is just make sure that she never ever goes back there again.”
Listen: Andrea McLean and husband Nick reveal what really happened on their first date
Such is his dedication to protecting is wife, he revealed that he’d be prepared to sell up and live a simpler life if it meant making her happy.
“There's something that came up the other day and I'm just like, ‘F*** it all! Sell everything’,” he revealed.
“I'll get rid of my cars. I'll get rid of my property! Just to make sure that you do not go from smiling at me this morning, and then something happened, and you're in tears. It's just awful to watch and I never ever want to see Andrea go through that again.
“She is in such a good place at the moment and you know, I just want to keep her there.”
The couple, who were married in 2017, said they regularly discuss what wealth means to them, and after suffering her breakdown, McLean says that their health has become a priority for them both.
“Wealthy is when you feel totally content with where you are,” she told Thornton.
“It doesn't matter where you are is - if that makes sense - but just feeling content with where you are.
“And if that means actually jacking everything in and walking away from what the outside world sees as successful, that's such a powerful thing to do. It's something that we've spoken about because that's what being wealthy means - is having a healthy state of mind, a healthy relationship, you know, a loving family around you.”
This Girl Is On Fire is McLean’s third book but she said, for her, it was the scariest one to write. As a former journalist, writing is the Loose Women star’s first love and while she found the whole process cathartic, she was also quite scared of the book finally being published.
“One of my biggest fears with writing this book was I thought it wasn't necessarily exposing some really difficult, painful moments in my life, but it was that people wouldn't like me anymore,” the 50-year-old confessed.
She continued: “I'm very measured - and I'm quite strong in the book, which is what my personality is. I have opinions of course, but I've always been too frightened to express them because I had many people in my life who shouted me down and speaking up - the consequences of it - weren't great.”
The book has also helped McLean find her inner grit – and to their dismay, some people have found she’s not quite the easy-going person she once was.
“Actually, now I'm going, ‘No, that's not fair. That's not right’, she exclaimed.
“And I can feel people around me going ‘What? But you never complain.’ And I have to correct them and go, ‘I'm not complaining. I'm standing up for myself and you've had it good for so long.’ I'm not doing that anymore.”
McLean and her husband both underwent therapy together to help her through her breakdown, and thankfully the former Celebrity SAS star is in a really good place now.
“I am great now,” she exclaimed. “I am totally great and really, really well, and I would say mentally the strongest I've ever been, because I really genuinely feel like I have looked things in the face that I should have looked in the face.”
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