Christine McGuinness, wife of TV personality Paddy McGuinness, has opened up on Loose Women about her long-term battle with anorexia, which she says began at the age of ‘eight or nine’.
Appearing on the show as part of their Body Stories campaign, Christine told of how a cruel online bully had accused her of promoting an unhealthy body image, which then prompted her to offer her own impassioned response on social media.
‘The picture she had commented on was when I was at the peak of my physical fitness,’ she told hosts Ruth Langsford, Katie Price, Janet Street-Porter and Stacey Solomon. ‘You’re not going to look like that with an eating disorder. I would never promote anorexia.’
In fact, she credits now-husband Paddy, whom she met at 19, and his love for eating out as the reason she finally learnt to enjoy food and to eat to nourish her body, after suffering from eating disorders through most of her life.
She explained, ‘When I was eight or nine, I really didn’t like eating in front of people. I didn’t have many friends so I’d tend to sit alone at lunch, I didn’t like school dinners, so I was skipping meals from a really young age – and that wasn’t to do with body image.
‘The only way I can explain it is that I accidentally fell into an eating disorder, I didn’t mean to. But when I started modelling, that’s when the eating disorder became more about body image and I lost control of it.’
Having always wanted to be a mum, she admitted that once she realised that her illness was affecting her chances of started a family, she began making conscious efforts to get well.
‘It made me really anaemic, I was exhausted all the time, clearly underweight, and I didn’t have periods all the way through my teenaged years,’ she said.
‘It was when I was about 15 or 16 that the doctor told me I was affecting my fertility, and that was the wakeup call I needed.’
These days, Christine is a happy and healthy mum of three, having given birth to a baby girl in September. She’s a dedicated advocate of healthy eating and trains hard, regularly posting updates for her followers of her postpartum fitness progress on her Instagram page.