Now writer Scarlett Russell describes interviewing TOWIE's Ferne McCann about her relationship split from Charlie Sims
Another week, another TOWIE drama, but even by reality TV standards this one was bizarre. Last Thursday, Charlie Sims not only announced via Twitter that he was leaving the show, he seemed to break up with his girlfriend of six years, Ferne McCann as well.
He posted: ‘So sad to lose not one but two people you love dearly to a TV show [sic]. I wish @chloe_Sims and @FerneMcCann the best with their lives. But always live knowing you chose the show.’
Just hours later, Ferne gave her version events to one magazine: Now. And she asked me to interview her.
I’ve interviewed Ferne many times before. I’ve seen her at her best – dolled up in sexy 60s outfits for a shoot, pouting and beaming for the camera whilst sending Charlie cheeky selfies in between shots, and her wors – talking earlier this year about the trauma of fainting in a public swimming pool.
I’ve seen every side of Ferne: Funny, confident, loud, brash, anxious, sad and, yes, even insecure. We’ve talked at length about the Twitter trolls that have slated her appearance and her love and commitment to Charlie.
But only last Thursday night, when I rang Ferne to discuss those tweets from Charlie, did I hear her cry for the first time during an interview. Sure, we’ve seen Ferne shed tears on TOWIE – over an argument with Elliott Wright, Gemma Collins or boyfriend Charlie. The highs and lows of their relationship has played out in front of our eyes, break-ups, squabbles and cheating rumours included.
In February, days before the latest series of TOWIE hit our screens, I interviewed Ferne again and she told me how happy the couple were. ‘We’re stronger than ever,’ she said before hinting about the couple house-hunting. Charlie was returning after a break from the show and Ferne was excited about sharing screen time with him again. She shrugged off any suggestion of a dreaded TOWIE relationship curse. ‘I don’t think there’s anything that can break us now, we’ve been through it all already,’ she said.
It seems she was wrong.
‘We started rowing and it spiraled out of control via WhatsApp messages,’ Ferne told me last Thursday, explaining the series of events that led up to his Twitter outburst. ‘We said we’d sleep on it then the next morning I saw the Tweets when everyone else did. I had no idea he was going to send them. I don’t even know if we’re still together – according to Twitter we’re not.’
It seems Charlie, sick of sharing his personal life with millions of viewers, dramatically left the show for good and told Ferne that if she didn’t do the same, it was over with her.
‘I thought it was a joke at first,’ Ferne told me about his ultimatum. ‘I’m not ready to leave and why should I? It’s unfair. I want to be clear that I didn’t choose the show over my boyfriend. I should never have been put in that position in the first place.’
It was then that the phone went muffled and I could hear Ferne start to sob. It’s not often she shows this vulnerability: ‘I know I’m a tough cookie on the outside, but I’m heartbroken.’
It shows just how much Charlie means to Ferne. ‘This is the boy I’ve spent the last six years with. We’d cuddle in bed, go to amazing restaurants, do silly little voices… we love each other.’
Reality TV is full of characters playing up to the camera, but Ferne McCann is as real as they come. Love or hate her, there’s no denying that her love for Charlie is genuine. But Ferne is a tough cookie, so whether they work things out or not, my guess is that she’ll do just fine.
TOWIE‘s Ferne McCann: Charlie Sims dumped me on Twitter