OK! (UK)

DENISE WELCH

LOOSE WOMEN STAR DENISE WELCH TELLS OK! ABOUT BODY CON­FI­DENCE AND HELP­ING HER PAL AN­DREA MCLEAN THROUGH A BREAK­DOWN

- WORDS: LISA BLAKE PHOTOS: SI­MON PERRY

She’s been open about her strug­gle with men­tal health for over three decades and Denise Welch re­cently cel­e­brated go­ing a year with­out an “episode”. “It came up on a Face­book mem­ory on Septem­ber 28 that it had been a year. That’s a long time for me. The long­est I’ve gone is

18 months, but over the years I get episodes ev­ery few months. It can come on out of nowhere,” she tells OK!.

Denise was first di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion in 1989 af­ter giv­ing birth to her first son Matt. The Loose Women star, who quit al­co­hol in 2012 with her hus­band Lin­coln Town­ley, has been work­ing with Men­tal Health First Aid Eng­land and shar­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences with oth­ers.

“There is still ig­no­rance around this sub­ject and it’s re­ally help­ful lis­ten­ing to peo­ple who have first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of it,” she says.

Denise re­cently be­came em­broiled in a pub­lic spat with Good Morn­ing Bri­tain star Piers Mor­gan af­ter she in­sisted the me­dia were “fear­mon­ger­ing” in cov­er­age of coro­n­avirus. She came off Twit­ter and ad­mit­ted she was tak­ing a “step back” from so­cial me­dia.

When we catch up with the star – who is also a mother to son Louis,

19, with ex-hus­band Tim

Healy – she’s hav­ing a much-needed hol­i­day in

Turkey with her dad and her friend, Mag­gie Oliver.

“It’s been so nice get­ting away in the midst of ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pen­ing,” she says.

Here, Denise talks about

Piers Mor­gan, her messy kitchen and why she’ll still be post­ing swimwear photos in her nineties...

You’re film­ing Loose Women from home some days – how’s that go­ing?

The bit you see be­hind me is tidy, but if I was to move the cam­era slightly to the left, then it would be piled up dishes be­cause my dish­washer broke just be­fore lock­down. Of­ten I’ll have one of my hus­band’s paint­ings in the back­ground be­cause I can’t be both­ered to clean the kitchen. It’s lovely be­ing back.

You got up­set on the show when talk­ing about your son Louis mov­ing to London. How are you feel­ing?

It’s ridicu­lous be­cause I’m in London ev­ery week. Louis said, “Mum, it’s not like you’re not go­ing to see me.” But I’m like, “I know, it’s just like the end of an era.” It was tough go­ing into his room and see­ing it empty, but I was able to re­trieve some of the cups he’s been build­ing up over the years. He’s set­tling in fine in London.

And how’s Matt?

Matthew is work­ing on a solo project. I’ve got two boys in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. It’s a night­mare but I’m proud of them both. I’m very lucky that my boys have both got good heads on their shoul­ders.

How are you feel­ing about your pub­lic spat with Piers Mor­gan?

I’ve just backed off now. I’ve had enough of it. I’ve said my piece and I tried to do what I could for the men­tal health of the peo­ple that fol­low me. Now I’m just keep­ing my head down and look­ing af­ter my­self and my fam­ily.

Why did you de­cide to come off Twit­ter? For per­sonal rea­sons and I’m not com­ment­ing on the state of the na­tion any more. I did what I could to al­lay the fear­mon­ger­ing.

You looked great in your swim­suit photo… I al­ways do a swim­suit pic­ture. Not be­cause I’m go­ing, “Oh, look at me.” If I wear a swim­suit and it gives an­other woman with all her bumps and cel­lulite the con­fi­dence to put her cos­tume on, that’s great. I will be post­ing pic­tures in bathing cos­tumes un­til I’m 97.

What’s your ex­er­cise regime?

I’m not one for jump­ing around, so I try to walk as much as pos­si­ble. I’ve had lots of ad­dic­tions in my past and the one thing I’ve tried to get ad­dicted to is ex­er­cise and I can’t.

An­drea Mclean re­vealed she’d gone through a ner­vous break­down...

I hope I was a sup­port to her. We’ve al­ways been close – I’ve al­ways known about An­drea’s con­di­tion.

Do you take med­i­ca­tion for de­pres­sion?

I take an an­tide­pres­sant and a hor­mone re­place­ment tablet ev­ery day. Un­til they steal them from my clenched fist, I’ll take them un­til the day I pop my clogs.

Tell us about your in­volve­ment with Men­tal Health First Aid Eng­land…

They’re train­ing peo­ple to be able to help peo­ple in the right way and I’m im­pressed there’s such a thing. The train­ing is the men­tal health equiv­a­lent of phys­i­cal first aid. WATCH DENISE DIS­CUSS HER MEN­TAL HEALTH STRUG­GLES AS PART OF MEN­TAL HEALTH FIRST AID ENG­LAND’S MY WHOLE SELF CAM­PAIGN, AND LEARN WHY BE­ING MORE OPEN AND SUP­PORT­IVE OF ONE AN­OTHER’S HEALTH IN THE WORK­PLACE IS BET­TER FOR WELL­BE­ING AND BUSINESS: YOUTUBE.COM/ MENTALHEAL­THFIRSTAID­ENGLAND

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 ??  ?? Denise and Lin­coln
Denise and Lin­coln
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