Still feeling the pressure, the TV presenter is putting on a brave face to promote her autobiography

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In the next few weeks Fern Britton starts promoting her autobiography, due out on 8 November. But, sadly, the timing for the 51-year-old to bare her soul couldn’t be worse.

‘When she signed up to do the autobiography, she was on a high,’ our insider tells us. ‘But since the gastric band scandal she’s been feeling incredibly low and depressed. Right now she’s feeling very down – her sparkle just isn’t there. But there’s a lot of money at stake, so she’s got to give interviews.’

Fern’s also appearing in new Ryvita ads without her ‘fat suit’. A source says: ‘Ryvita bosses weren’t happy that Fern hadn’t told them she’d had a gastric band fitted, but they felt it would be worse publicity if they broke their contract with her. They’re aware that it’s a gamble, though.

‘Fern didn’t really want to do the ads. And whereas last year she did “meet and greet” events with journalists to promote the campaign, this year she’s bowed out, leaving daytime TV stylist Mark Heyes to do it instead. If you look at her eyes in the ad, it’s obvious she’s not enjoying herself.

‘The £200,000 fee wasn’t even that important to her because she’s feeling so down at the moment. At the moment, all she wants to do is her day job and she’s relying on her husband Phil Vickery and the kids to help her feel better.

Insiders say there have been battles over the book’s content, too. ‘The publishers wanted to go big on the gastric band, but Fern said that it shouldn’t even have a chapter,’ says our source. ‘She wants the book to be a “to hell and back” tale of Phil rescuing her from loneliness after the break-up of her first marriage. She’s less keen to talk about the fact that she’s been almost as low this summer as she was back then.

See the full story in Now magazine dated 13 October 2008 – out now!