Former TOWIE star Ferne McCann speaks out on her pregnancy.

Crashing from the dizzy heights down to the depths – through no fault of her own – has hurt her badly, and now Ferne McCann has opened up about the ‘catastrophe’ that she says has ‘ruined my life’.

Everybody knows about the nightclub acid attack a fortnight ago that left two men in a specialist burns unit, blinded two people in one eye and injured over a dozen more.

Arthur Collins, 25, is now in police custody. He’s already appeared in court to answer 14 charges of grievous bodily harm with intent and one of throwing corrosive fluid on a person.

But to Ferne he’s not just the defendant in a trial. He’s the father of her unborn child, a man she spoke of loving a few short days ago, saying: ‘Yes, I definitely think Arthur is The One. We said “I love you” right from the start. Arthur’s very sexy.’ This was the man she was planning to move into her new house and marry, perhaps as soon as this summer.

And for all the talk of ‘moving on’, Ferne –who, for all her surface toughness, is still only 26 – knows that he will always be in her life, one way or another.

MORE: Pregnant Ferne McCann breaks social media silence days after Arthur Collins’ arrest

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‘Ferne is in the worst possible position,’ a long-standing friend tells Now. ‘She told me: “I desperately want to move on but that’s the one thing I can’t do.” There have been a lot of strong words spoken. She’s deleted all trace of him from her social media. She wants everyone to know he’s now her ex-boyfriend. As she said herself: “The man accused of doing those terrible things is not the man I fell

in love with.”

‘But she can’t sum up her life in a PR statement. It’s much more complicated than that and Ferne’s emotions are all over the place, not helped by the pregnancy making her hormones go haywire.’

READ MORE: Ferne deletes Arthur Collins from her social media

The baby is at the heart of Ferne’s issues and has made her look closely at what drew her to Arthur in the first place.

She herself has acknowledged he wasn’t her usual type, describing him as a ‘real man’ who ‘puts me in my place in a good way’. ‘That’s why I love him,’ she added, before admitting that she lacks self-confidence.

This may come as a surprise to many of her fans, who’ve seen her endless catalogue of selfies. Didn’t she model lingerie, after all?

‘That’s a total misunderstanding of the girl,’ says the friend. ‘Ferne said to me: “This situation with Arthur has stripped me down to the bare bones. I’ve never felt more vulnerable.”

‘Yes, she’s ambitious but she’s also kind and would never hurt anyone. Ferne’s been bullied about her weight – she’s a real woman, not a stick person – and she’s the last person to judge anyone.

‘But now she’s regretting that terribly. She told me: “It wasn’t just talk – I genuinely fell in love with him, This is tearing me apart.”

‘She’s stuck. She’s determined to have the baby and she realises that means, one way or another, Arthur will be in her life forever. As she says: “No matter what, he’s still the dad.”

‘All the people telling her to cut him off completely don’t seem to realise that. It’s not about whether he has the right to know his baby, it’s about not denying the child its right to have a father. Show me somebody who doesn’t want to know where they came from and I’ll show you a liar. Ferne’s in floods of tears because this is her new reality.’

Ferne’s rocks through this difficult time have been her mother Gill and her big sister Sophie. While she licks her wounds and considers her next move, she’s consulting constantly with them.

And according to her close friend, the situation has hit Gill just as hard. ‘Ferne is her baby and to see her put through the mill like this is torture,’ says the friend.

‘Sophie has a little one of her own, Ronnie, and she’s talking Ferne through what’s going to happen in the months ahead. When it

comes to birth partners she’s got two of the best there.

‘They’re incredibly close and a lot of tears have been shed. Above all else, they understand, more than anyone else, that Ferne can’t just make this problem disappear by disowning Arthur.

‘Being Ferne is her job. The minute she stops talking about herself, giving interviews and working the media, then she’s finished. She can’t risk that with single motherhood on the horizon.

‘So she’s taking a break, but Ferne, Gill and Sophie know she’ll be back. They’ve come through major challenges before and this won’t beat them.

‘For now, though, Ferne tells me: “ I just need some space and time to cry.” She’s lost so much and she’s only human.’

Ferne’s representatives released a statement last week confirming that she was pregnant and had split from Arthur. ‘She does not wish to discuss the pregnancy further given the early stage it is at and the immense strain that Ferne is currently under. Nor does she wish to discuss her ex-boyfriend, who she does not recognise from the events of the last week,’ it read.

‘Ferne is in no way seeking sympathy for her situation and is determined to do all she can to have a happy and healthy child and face the challenges of being a single parent with all her energy. Her thoughts are with the victims of the horrific attack on Easter Monday.’