In public she's glowing, but Kerry's life is really a mess...

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A tanned Kerry Katona is looking fit and healthy but appearances can be deceptive because, as 2009 gets underway, the 28 year-old reality TV star still has to deal with the financial troubles from the past several years.

‘Kerry’s told everyone who’ll listen that she’s transformed her life since last year,’ a friend tells Now. ‘After being at rock bottom for so long, she finally seems to be on the up. The trouble is, a lot of it’s built on sand and she’s the same person with the same problems underneath.

‘Her world is surreal. She’s being filmed wherever she goes by an MTV camera crew for a new series of her show Crazy In Love. But it’s becoming clear even to them that the glamorous-looking girl at the centre of this activity is a bit like her new body: it looks great on the outside, yet if you look closely you can see where it’s been patched together.

‘Kerry still owes the taxman £82,000 and she’s had three meetings with the insolvency people to try to sort it out. She’s far from being out of the woods yet, but two weeks ago she did a sexy photo shoot and she still has her Iceland contract,’ says our source.

‘Some people say it’s down to her great new look, but Iceland bosses take the view there’s no such thing as bad publicity where she’s concerned. She likes to behave as if there’s no limit to her ability to bounce back.

‘She also feels insecure about her husband Mark Croft’s roving eye. He’s taken on work cleaning cars, but he has another child from before Kerry met him that he’s making arrangements to support.

‘It’s difficult for a lot of people to understand how Kerry got into this mess. Her Iceland deal alone is worth £250,000, so why does she still owe anything to anyone? But if she gets £20,000 for a magazine shoot, it’s not long before it’s all gone.

‘She just came back from Tenerife. We’d all love to go on holiday, but when you have money worries it isn’t the best idea. She’ll always make time to get a fake tan or a blow-dry, but looking good on the surface doesn’t mean everything’s OK.’

Kerry’s spokesman told us: ‘She’s making every effort to sort out her finances and it’ll be resolved pretty soon.’

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See the full story about Kerry Katona in Now magazine dated 9 February 2009 – out now!