MODEL Danielle Lineker, who last year married BBC’s Match Of The Day presenter Gary, describes the trauma of losing her hair as a teenager and how it still affects her.
Danielle, 30, says: “I lost most of the hair on top of my head for about seven months when I was 16. It was stress-related and it suddenly fell out while I was doing my GCSEs.
“I had a bald patch on top and I had to resort to an embarrassing ‘comb over’ and coloured in any gaps with eyeliner.”
She recalls: “It was a horrible knock at a vulnerable time. When you’re a teenager you’re very self-conscious about your appearance and you’re just starting to like boys. Luckily my girlfriends were amazing and made sure I wasn’t teased.”
Danielle is now an occasional presenter on GMTV but she admits the episode has had long-lasting effect on her confidence.
“It knocked my self-esteem then and has made me slightly less self-assured. I’m naturally quite an anxious personality.
“I still occasionally get tiny, coin sized patches of alopecia where hair comes out, usually about three months after a period of stress.”
She credits marriage to Gary, 49, with boosting her confidence.
“They say opposites attract and Gary is very laid-back, down-to-earth and easy going, while he says I can worry for Britain and am a bit of a hypochondriac!” Danielle says with a smile.
“Whenever I worry about my hair he’s lovely, he calms me down and always tells me he can never see anything wrong with it.”
The couple have five children between them. Gary has four sons from his first marriage to ex-wife Michelle and Danielle has an eight-year-old daughter, Ella, with ex-Coventry City player Adam Willis.
She says: “I think our relationship works well because we both have children. We’d like to have kids together but that’s not on the cards yet. We want a few years to just have time together and to adjust to being a family.
“I feel lucky that Gary’s boys are great fun and not moody teenagers and so it’s not been difficult being their stepmum. I think it might have been harder if they had been younger children.”
Petite, Danielle, does Pilates weekly to combat lower back pain triggered by childbirth, but admits she avoids the gym even though the couple have one in the house.
“Gary works out around three or four times a week but I find gym work so boring. I let him get on with it and say ‘well done!’ when he gets back,” she admits with a smile.
Danielle, from Cardiff, says her outlook on life was influenced by a disabling accident suffered by her half-brother Kaid, 24, three years ago.
“I realise that if you have your health and so does your family then you have everything to be grateful for,” she says.
“So my motto now is ‘tomorrow is another day’, and ‘things always change and can get better’.’ It’s so important to be positive and forwardlooking.”