Dancing on Ice’s Gemma Collins opens up about the fragile person behind her alter ego
Since joining this year’s series of Dancing on Ice, Gemma Collins has divided public opinion. On the one hand, she’s become a surprise national treasure but, to others, she’s an entitled, lazy diva.
Strip away the many layers she’s built into her alter ego The GC and you’ll find a woman who spent years struggling with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
The shocking revelations that Gemma makes in her autobiography, Basically…. My Life as a Real Essex Girl, shed a very different light on the star. It seems her diva-like behaviour is a far cry from the person who hides beneath.
Speaking candidly, Gemma, 38, revealed how an abortion and a split from an old boyfriend previously pushed her to the edge. ‘I took a knife out and placed the cold steel blade on my hand,’ she confessed. ‘I pressed down hard and watched in fascination as the tip of the knife pierced my skin. The pain felt good.’
That desperate moment came after a long battle with anxiety, which was triggered by a shock dance floor attack at her local disco. ‘Every time I cut my hand it was like a release. It felt good. And then I felt scared by what I had done,’ she explained. ‘With hindsight I believe I did it as a cry for help… I told myself the scars on my hand and the scars on my heart would heal with time.’
And, on the surface, Gemma appears to have fought and won the battle with her demons – finding love with James ‘Arg’ Argent. Just last week Arg, 31, spoke about their relationship saying, ‘There was one particular week which was so, so tough for us as a couple. If we can survive that, I believe we can survive anything. I love her so much and I won’t allow this show to break us up.’
But, while Arg is fully supportive, others are not so forgiving of the alter ego Gemma has honed so well. As one of the show’s biggest signings this series, the Essex native has been called out for her ‘diva behaviour’ – after she was exposed for demanding foot rubs, screaming at staff and storming off set.
The star blames her ‘outgoing personality’ and ‘zest for life’ as the root cause of ‘rubbing people up the wrong way’ – making her an easy target for haters. And judge Jason Gardiner’s jibes about her weight in week three, didn’t help. They sparked almost 250 Ofcom complaints and saw Gemma lash out and break down in tears as her confidence hit a low point.
During her battle with anxiety, the TOWIE star never needed medication but admitted she self-medicated with calories. ‘Food became a drug for me…which I relied on in times of trouble,’ admitted Gemma. It was normal for Gem – who went from a size 10 to an 18 in one year alone, before hitting size 20 – to scoff three bars of chocolate followed by two McDonald’s meals. And with fluctuating weight and anxiety issues, only a small trigger can spark a panic attack.
Gemma even recalled how she wanted to run her car into a barrier just after hearing a certain song on the radio.
‘I was hit by a dreaded feeling of anxiety that stalked me most days… it was just a flash in my mind. I didn’t dwell on it but I considered killing myself for a split second.’
Today, Gemma has vowed to rise above her latest car crash TV moment, which saw her take a massive tumble on the ice.
She told her fans on social media, ‘Be back Sunday guys don’t worry. Nothing is going to stop me. Your support is overwhelming and keeping me going #nopainnogain …so grateful it could have been a lot worse. Thank you to the amazing paramedics and physio team x.’
GC or not GC, We can’t wait to see what happens next for Gem.