Fearne Cotton has always been open and honest about the battle she has had with her mental health. For the October issue of Red magazine, the former Radio 1 DJ has spoken candidly to writer - and friend - Emma Freud. They discuss Fearne having imposter syndrome, the importance of getting help and the darker times the mother-of-two has experienced in her life. The plus side? She's feeling stronger than ever right now.
Photographed in Paris by Taghi Naderzad, the 36-year-old revealed that her depression began around three years ago. "While I was working at Radio 1, I went through a really bad patch, where I became a much rawer version of myself," she said. "[It lasted] Over a year. Maybe two. There were some exceedingly dark bits where I thought, ‘I don’t understand how to trust, how to be me, how to feel okay with eyes on me.’"
She continued: "That dark patch came with a huge confidence blow where I just didn’t feel good enough to do TV. A big part of my getting better was giving 18 year old Fearne a break and not beating her up any more for being enthusiastic and naive. A very wise person said to me, ‘Be kinder to that YOU. Go back in time and imagine sitting with that version of yourself and just say, 'I understand why you’re like this, and you’re alright.'"
In the moving piece, Fearne credits her husband of four years, Jesse Woods, as the person that helped her overcome her darkest days. "We’d only been together a few years when the bad bit came. But we had what felt like such a game-changing, world-stopping love for each other that we said, 'Nothing else matters, whatever carnage happens, we’ll get through it.' We’ve both been able to really support each other through that. Now, seven years down the line, we adore each other's company and we're best friends. We obviously have loads of arguments like everyone does, but it’s fine, because we’ve been through loads of sh*t and our lives hopefully won’t ever be that turbulent again."
Taking the leap of faith and saying goodbye to her well-paid job certainly helped Fearne and her wellbeing. She revealed: "I left Radio 1, which was terrifying. I had no job and I was a new mum, my social life changed – I didn’t want to go out and get drunk and all that stuff any more. But, over the next year, some great friends rallied around and I talked to brilliant experts. It was very slow, but in the last few years – especially the last 12 months – I’ve felt good. This year has been extraordinary, with the momentum of the work that I’m doing and where it’s leading me. It might not be as big and shiny as it used to be, but I’m happier than ever."
Nowadays you're likely to find Fearne embracing her creative side and showing off her real life on Instagram. "I’m painting a bit, but I’ve just started to use that side professionally – I’ve created a print for Cath Kidston [Fearne’s collaboration with the brand launches in October]. It was a huge creative outlet for me. I worked with the print team and it’s really gorgeous. This is the first period in a while where I’ve really thought I’ve got something to give."
The full interview appears in the October issue of Red, on sale now.
Fearne Cotton in 60 seconds