My wob­bly bits are a part of me, I’m proud of them

DA­GEN­HAM LOOSE WOMEN GIRL PANEL­LIST AND STACEY SOLOMON TELLS GABRIELLE FA­GAN ABOUT HER NEW FOUND BODY CON­FI­DENCE AND HER TOUGH­EST CHAL­LENGES IN LIFE SO FAR

The Chronicle - - Celebrity Wellbeing -

STACEY SOLOMON found fame as the lov­able Es­sex girl from Da­gen­ham on The X Fac­tor. She may have only fin­ished third in the singing com­pe­ti­tion, be­hind Olly Murs and win­ner Joe McElderry, but her ca­reer re­ally took off in 2010 when she was crowned the win­ner of se­ries 10 of I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

Since then, she’s be­come a pop­u­lar face on panel and re­al­ity shows, in­clud­ing Loose Women and a reg­u­lar gig pre­sent­ing ITV2 spin-off show, I’m A Celebrity: Ex­tra Camp along­side her cur­rent part­ner, for­mer EastEn­ders ac­tor Joe Swash.

She’s also the mother of two sons, Zachary, nine, and five-year-old Leighton. She’d do any­thing for them – with Stacey even dress­ing up re­cently as the alien Vil­gax from Car­toon Net­work se­ries Ben 10 to im­press su­per-fan Zachary.

Here, the 28-year-old tells all about moth­er­hood, mar­riage and lov­ing her body.

How do you look af­ter your health and well­be­ing?

“I MAINLY rely on run­ning around af­ter my two boys: I play games with them to burn off calo­ries. I’ll do an oc­ca­sional ex­er­cise class, but luck­ily, I don’t gain weight eas­ily.

“I eat healthily apart from in­dulging in the odd packet of crisps, nuts and sand­wiches.

“I’m happy pretty much ev­ery day, and as I get older, I just get hap­pier.”

What does your ro­mance with Joe Swash mean to you?

“EV­ERY­THING, be­cause it’s trans­formed my life. When we met in 2015, I’d given up on men, I thought I was done and I was quite happy to be alone with my sons.

“I think that’s prob­a­bly the rea­son I found Joe – be­cause I was re­ally con­tent and I wasn’t look­ing for some­one to com­plete me. I’m re­ally happy with him – at the mo­ment I do think he is ‘Mr Right’.

“He makes me feel se­cure, loves me un­con­di­tion­ally and sticks up for me even if I’m in the wrong.

“He’s even tol­er­ant about my hor­ri­ble habit of pick­ing my nose.

“That sort of love makes you feel a bit in­vin­ci­ble.”

Do you think he might pop the ques­tion soon?

“WE’RE tak­ing things re­ally slowly, be­cause we’ve both got chil­dren who come first. We’re not liv­ing to­gether at the mo­ment, but we’re go­ing to grad­u­ally in­te­grate our lives – when the kids are ready.

“I’m still a hope­less ro­man­tic and want us to get mar­ried, but we’re not ready for that yet.”

Would you like more chil­dren?

“DEF­I­NITELY. I’m one of seven so I al­ways imag­ined hav­ing a big fam­ily.

“The most at­trac­tive thing about Joe is that he’s an in­cred­i­ble fa­ther to his 10-year-old son. He’s re­ally self­less and car­ing, and my boys adore him.

“But I’m aware I have two chil­dren from two re­la­tion­ships, and I read a lot of so­cial stud­ies about the im­pact on chil­dren of bro­ken fam­i­lies.

“I think very se­ri­ously about the emo­tional ef­fects (of hav­ing more chil­dren), so we don’t want to rush into hav­ing a child just yet.”

A brave video you posted, cel­e­brat­ing your ‘real bikini body’ and its ‘im­per­fec­tions’, went vi­ral overnight on In­sta­gram. Why did you de­cide to post it?

“I FELT a moral obli­ga­tion. I don’t think it’s right for peo­ple to have a false im­age of what I look like based on photos that might have been taken af­ter make-up ses­sions, or those that may have been en­hanced. Too many celebrity pic­tures make women look ‘per­fect’. It’s so dam­ag­ing to other women’s self-es­teem. “These days, I’m re­ally com­fort­able with the way I look and I think there are more im­por­tant things to worry about than my fig­ure. My wob­bly bits, muf­fin top, saggy boobs and stretch marks from preg­nan­cies are part of me and I’m proud of them.”

What’s been your tough­est chal­lenge in life so far?

“I WAS only 17 when I got preg­nant with Zach, which turned my life up­side down.

“At the time, it was very hard – even though he turned out to be the best thing to hap­pen to me.

“I suf­fered from post-natal de­pres­sion af­ter he was born and it was hard to re­cover from it.

“When I do re­visit that time in my head, it feels very dark. I’ve learnt now that ev­ery­thing is tem­po­rary and things pass even­tu­ally.

“I used to be scared and wor­ried that life was out of con­trol, but I’ve found ways to ride the waves and be more con­fi­dent.”

What’s re­ally im­por­tant to you in life?

“APART from my brilliant kids, my fam­ily and my part­ner, it’s about be­ing in­de­pen­dent. “My dad made me and my sib­lings get week­end jobs as soon as we were old enough, so we learnt the value of work­ing and man­ag­ing money. “I’ve worked in a fish and chip shop and as a sales­woman for dou­ble glaz­ing. I never imag­ined be­ing on X Fac­tor or that I’d con­tinue to have a ca­reer and be on Loose Women. “Sit­ting with in­tel­li­gent, funny women and talk­ing about things I care about is lit­er­ally my dream job. “I’ve been so lucky.”

What would you change about your past?

“NOTH­ING. I spend my time think­ing about get­ting through the present. I try not to look back un­less I think I can learn some­thing.

“I let the fu­ture look af­ter it­self; what will be will be.”

Stacey Solomon

Stacey and her sons Zachary (on the left) and Leighton

Stacey trans­formed into an alien from Ben 10, on Car­toon Net­work, to sur­prise su­per-fan son Zachary

Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash

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