Michelle Heaton never hid alcohol addiction from kids: ‘They’re very aware’

Dancing On Ice 's Michelle Heaton has claimed that being open with her kids about her alcohol addiction has only made their family bond closer.

The Liberty X star said she never attempted to hide the truth that she was battling a three-year addiction, and praised daughter Faith, eleven, and AJ, eight, who she shares with husband Hugh Hanley, for playing an integral part in her recovery.

Speaking to OK! , she said: “We just told them Mummy was allergic to prosecco and then it naturally evolved to Mummy doesn’t drink alcohol. Faith is 11. She’s very aware and if she asks me any questions I will answer them. I don’t remember a time where we had to sit down and explain everything.

"It was always open. When I was in the Priory, Faith went to school and told her friends, ‘When your mummy comes round to my mummy’s you’ve got bring coffee and not prosecco any more.’

“When we went shopping in Asda, if we walked down the alcohol aisle, AJ used to go, ‘Mummy, don’t look!’ Thankfully, I don’t think the kids acknowledged anything that bad during my addiction, but they see the difference now to what I was. Mummy is happier and not raising her voice as much – I’m not tearful. Their memories aren’t what Hugh’s are.”

Michelle, now 630 days sober and serving as a symbol of hope to others with similar problems, hit rock bottom in January 2020 when she wasdrinking up to a bottle of vodka and two bottles of wine a day, and snorting cocaine.

It was a terrifying climax to becoming dependent on alcohol whilesuffering from hormonal depression after a hysterectomy. The operation, to reduce her risk of breast and ovarian cancers after learning she carries the mutated BRCA2 gene, alsotriggered her early menopauseat the age of 34.

By September 2020, doctors were warning she could die from liver failure and many of her family and friends begged her to get help. But it wasn’t until the following April thatshe was admitted to the Priory rehaband mental health hospital for a 28-day stint. It would be one of the most difficult months of her life – and the most crucial.

She added to OK!: “It’s not exactly a hotel. I remember packing heels and a going-out dress as I thought surely we’ll go out for one meal. But obviously not. It was a real culture shock. The first week was very difficult. Everything was coming out as I was sobering up – it was awful, it was painful. You’ve got that pain that you’re missing something, that you’re mourning something. I was mourning drinking.”

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