Kerry Katona has revealed she was advised to blame her slurred speech on drugs, instead of honestly revealing that it was down to living with bipolar disorder.
The former Atomic Kitten star, 40, famously slurred her words during an interview on ITV’s This Morning back in 2008, sparking speculation she was drunk – though she later clarified that it was caused by her bipolar medication.
And Kerry further discussed her diagnosis, and the advice she was given, in an Instagram Live, telling her followers: ‘”Let them know you’ve done drugs or they won’t understand [my Bipolar disorder]”. I didn’t know what they meant by that.
Advice: Kerry Katona has revealed she was advised to blame her slurred speech on drugs, instead of honestly revealing that it was down to living with bipolar disorder
‘Then I got diagnosed in 2005 and in 2008, that’s when I did the This Morning interview and I slurred my words due to my bipolar medication.
‘I realised if I was on This Morning slurring my words and I was in a wheelchair with four degree burns all over my face slurring, people would be “aww, bless her”.
‘But because you can’t visually see anything wrong because it’s in here, people didn’t understand it.
‘I’m glad that my story has helped others to not feel alone, which I’m really happy about. I don’t have to explain anything, but I’m letting people know how hard mental health is.’
Interview: The former Atomic Kitten star, 40, famously slurred her words during an interview on ITV’s This Morning back in 2008 (pictured), sparking speculation she was drunk
In her 2008 This Morning interview with Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton, she was seen slurring and appeared out of sorts.
During the chat, Phillip asked: ‘If I’m honest you don’t seem right to me. You’re speech is slurred. How are you feeling?’
Kerry, who was married to Mark Croft at the time, replied to Phil: ‘I’m on medication at night time. This is going to be made as a huge publicity thing.’
Longtime host Phillip said to the mother-of-five: ‘I am merely pointing out what people are thinking who are watching.’
Fern, who presented the show at the time, asked about a previous magazine photo shoot, saying: ‘The interview did say you’d only go in the early hours of the morning, you’d had quite a bit to drink…
Realisation: She said, ‘I realised if I was on This Morning slurring my words and I was in a wheelchair with four degree burns all over my face slurring, people would be “aww, bless her”‘
‘It said you went to get ready with a bottle of champagne. They wanted you to jump in the pool and you were tempted after they said you’d have a shot afterwards.’
Kerry became increasingly disgruntled and began speaking to Mark off-camera.
In 2010, Kerry reflected on the headline-making interview, saying: ‘That wasn’t me back then. I was in a very dark dark place, I was on a lot of heavy medication, I was in a very unhappy marriage, and I was taking drugs.’
She said that her behaviour was down to her bipolar medication: ‘I was on 350mg of chlorpromazine, which I took at quarter to twelve the night before, and every morning my speech would be very slur, and it’d wear off in the afternoon.’
Asked previously if she had looked back on the interview in full, she said: ‘No. I’m too embarrassed and ashamed. It’s mortifying. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people around me. I’ve moved away…
Dark place: In 2010, Kerry said of the interview, ‘I was in a very dark dark place, I was on a lot of heavy medication, I was in a very unhappy marriage, and I was taking drugs’
‘I wasn’t a good person then. And it’s hard to watch it back, it’s hard, oh my God [to think that] my kids are going to have to watch this when they grow up.’
Back in 2019, Kerry admitted that cocaine used to be her ‘best friend’ as she candidly spoke about her past drug abuse. She stated that her troubled times are behind her and revealed that she ‘never drinks at home’ with the singer ‘rarely going out’.
Kerry, who has previously revealed she started taking drugs aged 14, has openly spoke about her bipolar disorder and addiction issues in the past.
The star, who checked herself into rehab in 2008 and 2010, told the Mirror: ‘It wasn’t so much that I was an addict, more that I binged. It got to the point I was so lonely, so empty. Cocaine was my best friend. It was always there for me when I was down.
‘When I was feeling worthless it gave me that self love and confidence. But it turned out to be a liar. I’m not tempted to go down that route any more. I don’t even drink at home – I’ve got to do the school run.’
Rise to fame: Kerry shot to fame as a member of Atomic Kitten more than 20 years ago. Pictured with bandmates (L-R) Liz McClarnon and Natasha Hamilton
What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder which causes unusual and often sudden changes in mood and energy levels.
Moods of those with bipolar disorder range from periods of extreme elation and energy (known as a manic episode) to periods of extreme sombreness and lack of energy (known as a depressive episode).
According to the International Bipolar Foundation, sufferers are diagnosed with rapid cycling if they have four or more manic, hypomanic, or depressive episodes in any 12-month period.
This severe form of the condition occurs in around 10 to 20 percent of all people with bipolar disorder.
Currently it is unknown what is the cause of bipolar disorder, which 1.3 million people in the UK have (or 1 in 50 people), according to Bipolar UK.
Scientists say genetics could play a role and that those with a a family history of bipolar disorder are more likely to have it.
Environmental factors can also trigger the disorder, such as a stressful or traumatic event.
Several celebrities have gone public about their struggles with the condition including Kanye West, Demi Lovato, Mariah Carey, Mel Gibson and Jean Claude van Damme.