Gemma Collins has revealed a secret abortion plunged her into a downward spiral of self-harm, anxiety attacks and binge-eating, leaving her on the brink of suicide.
Towie star Gemma, 38, recently split from her on/off boyfriend James Argent and has jetted to Los Angeles to chase a new career Stateside.
Despite all the glamour of her current lifestyle, Gemma has endured dark struggles in her personal life and has been open about all the pain she suffered in the past.
In her 2013 autobiography, Basically… My Life as a Real Essex Girl, Gemma opened up about a haunting secret which tormented her for a long time.
Before shooting to fame in 2011, Gemma fell pregnant with her boyfriend Robert's baby.
However, the pregnancy was fraught with complications and she got the devastating news that her child could suffer from birth defects.
Gemma made the heartbreaking choice to have an abortion, calling it "the most difficult decision of my life".
After the abortion, Gemma's relationship with Robert began to crumble as she was racked with grief over the loss of her baby.
In her book, she details the heart-wrenching moment she slashed her hand open with a kitchen knife in a desperate bid to deal with her pain.
She wrote: "I couldn't hold back the tears… I was grieving for my baby and my relationship…
"Then I saw the knife rack and a strange feeling of clarity came over me. I knew how to make things better.
"I took a knife out and place the cold steel blade on my hand. I pressed down and watching in fascination as the tip of the knife pierced my skin. The pain felt good…
"Every time I cut my hand it felt like a release…"
She was later stopped by Robert and admitted the self-harming was not a suicide attempt but just a "cry for help".
Gemma later split from Robert and the break-up left her in a terrible state as she suffered crippling anxiety attacks and began binge-eating.
Her weight ballooned from a size 12 to a 20, and the reality beauty admits she started having "dark thoughts".
In her book, she explained: "One night I remember driving over Gallows Corner, a large road interchange near my house… There must have been a song on the radio that reminded me of Robert because I was crying.
"I was hit by the dreaded feeling of anxiety that stalked me most days and a thought hit me. I could end it.
"I could drive through the barrier and end everything. It was juts a flash in my mind. I didn't swell on it, but I considered killing myself for a split second."
Gemma managed to eventually get her life back on track and move on from the failed relationship, landing a a job in car sales and eventually being cast in Towie.
* Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected]
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