The Streetmate presenter opens up on mental health problems and how she got through them
We fell for Scarlett Moffatt when she was the queen of one-liners on Gogglebox. Sitting on the sofa with her lovely, cheeky family (watching Basic Instinct with her mum – and being filmed during that moment when Sharon Stone crosses and uncrosses her legs…), a nation fell in love with the bubbly Geordie.
She might have now sadly left Gogglebox, but she went on to be crowned I’m A Celebrity’s Queen of the Jungle last year, before landing herself plum presenting roles on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Streetmate and the National TV Awards. No biggie…
And now Scarlett, 27, is releasing her autobiography, where she lifts the lid on years of self-doubt and panic attacks. It’s the perfect place for her to reach out to her fans and reveal the life behind the glitzy parties.
She also chats frankly to us about finally facing up to the bullies that had taunted her for years at school, and why she is so happy with her boyfriend Luke Crodden.
Why did you decide to publish your life story?
I really love writing and I wanted to write about how I feel now. I’ve had lots of messages from people asking what it was like in the jungle and on Takeaway and I thought I could write it all down in a book. I have been very open and I’ve chatted about things that I haven’t talked about before – even with friends. It’s been tough, but I’ve been ready to talk about it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Let’s chat about some of those subjects you have been so open about, including the brave decision to talk about your anxiety attacks…
It was really hard to write about this, but I have suffered from anxiety for a long time and I wanted to be honest. I thought I was the only person, but now I know lots of people suffer from anxiety.
What sets them off then?
It sounds ridiculous, but really mundane things triggered them. I’d worry about us crashing in the car, lie awake thinking people were going to hate me if I didn’t give them 110%, or I’d even worry about stepping outside the door. It’s like an out-of-body experience when it happens.
When did it come to a head?
I was going out with a few girls and we were in a local. A girl started shouting ‘Gogglebox!’ at me and became really intimidating. I left but I lay awake crying, wondering if the girl knew where I lived. I felt really dizzy and I knew I couldn’t live my life like this any more, so I booked an appointment with a doctor.
And what was that like?
I sat down and cried. She told me to stop worrying, and she said I was suffering from anxiety attacks. She told me she understood how I felt. It was a relief knowing I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t going to die – as that is how I feel some days.
How are you now?
I still have bad days, but I go and talk to Luke or my family. I also now know that if I am having one that it’s just my head demons out in force!
You are so bubbly on TV, though. Is that just a front?
No, not at all. When I am on TV, I don’t get anxious. It’s more me worrying about day-to-day stuff. It sounds ridiculous, but that’s how my brain works!
Do you feel relieved to have got this out in the open?
Yes I do. People should not feel embarrassed about it.
You also talk about being bullied at school. Tell us
more about that…
It started after my first term. I’d had a bike accident and my right tooth was black, which made me the brunt of all their jokes. It lasted three years, just constant sh*t. Things like, ‘Scarlett, who’s your favourite Disney character? Is it Goofy? Because that’s who you look like.’ They even created a website all about me. I was devastated. The teachers thought it best to put me in isolation and let me leave 10 minutes earlier.
Did that help?
No, I’d wander around contemplating what my life was about. But I started to take the mickey out of myself more, after watching Victoria Wood on TV, and it became more bearable. But in the end, my dad suggested changing schools. I am so glad I did. I did really well and I went on to study in further education.
Recently you bumped into a woman who had bullied you and you told her how you felt. How
did that go?
She tried to tell her kids that we were friends and I told her we weren’t and that she hurt my feelings. I wasn’t scared any more. If you ask people why they are being a bully, they don’t know what to say.
You’ve also battled with weight issues over the years. Do you feel happy with the way you are now?
I lost weight because I wanted to be healthier. It’s as simple as that. I do feel happy. And I certainly don’t fret if I eat a pizza! I just do more exercise the next day.
You now live with your boyfriend Luke, after briefly splitting. Why is
he such a rock to you?
We are best friends. He’s moved his whole life down to be with me. He is my rock, for sure.
Would you ever go back
I am always being asked this! Maybe I would as a one-off, for old times’ sake.
I’m A Celebrity is back next month! Does it feel surreal that it was less than a year ago you were taking part?
I can’t believe it was nearly a year ago! Carol Vorderman messaged me this morning to say she had seen an advert for it. I loved doing the jungle. Nobody can prepare you for it. It changed everything in terms of my career.
Have you stayed in touch with your jungle buddies?
Yes, we are in a WhatsApp group, it’s really nice. I hope that whoever wins I’m A Celebrity next has as much fun as I did.
Thanks to Ant and Dec, you landed a presenting job on Saturday Night Takeaway…
I know. It’s all so bizarre. I remember being invited to Ant’s house for Sunday lunch with Stephen Mulhern, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, but I had to go to the toilet just to calm myself down! They and ITV took such a massive risk signing me up.
What other goals do you have?
To have a part in a West End musical. Imagine having a job where you get to sing, dance and act! But to be perfectly honest, I am living my dream now. I get to meet people every day and get to present shows I have watched for years.
And finally, what have you learned about yourself while writing this new book?
How much I have gained in confidence. Hopefully people will have a giggle, too, when they read it… I definitely have!
Scarlett Moffatt’s Me Life Story: Sofa So Good!, (£13.99, Blink) is out now