The This Morning host disclosed in her new autobiography You’ve Got To Laugh that she was branded an “elephant” by some of her classmates, with the bullying becoming so severe she continues to be triggered by the word as an adult.
“It may sound crazy but whenever I hear the word ‘elephant’, it takes me back to being at school and the nasty comments the boys used to make about me,” she said (via The Mirror).
“When I hear someone say ‘elephant’, I instantly think they must be talking about me. Anything to do with elephants sets it off.”
Alison went on to say she once “had heart palpitations” while on safari, as she was so “worried that someone was going to say, ‘Alison, look! An elephant, like you’”.
“We stopped talking,” she recalled. “But you know when you’ve been told off and you’re a bit giggly? ‘Oh, my gosh, we just got told off by Brian May from Queen!’.
“Things got worse when the band left the stage. Brian May got up to make a speech and started off by saying, ‘Now, there’s an elephant in the room, isn’t there?’. I had a full-on panic [thinking that] he was going to start embarrassing me in front of everybody.”
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The guitarist assured Alison he was talking about something else completely, with the presenter adding: “I’m not sure what lesson I took away from that day, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who lives with PTSD dating back to their schooldays.”
In a previously-released excerpt from her new book, Alison revealed she underwent a gastric band operation back in 2007, after a “mortifying” incident while interviewing Matt Damon.
However, after she experienced complications, she had the band removed after two years.
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- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill).
- CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) offer a helpline open 5pm-midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58, and a webchat service.
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email [email protected]
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0808 801 0525 (Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on rethink.org.