Stacey Solomon: How I’ve learnt to love the skin I’m in

Loose Women panellist Stacey Solomon first found fame as the lovable Essex girl from Dagenham on the X Factor.

She may have only finished third  in the singing competition, behind Olly Murs and winner Joe McElderry, but her career really took off in 2010 when she was crowned the winner of series 10 of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

Since then, she’s become a popular face on panel and reality shows, with a regular gig presenting ITV2 spin-off show, I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp alongside her current partner, former EastEnders actor Joe Swash.

She’s also the mother of two sons, Zachary, 9, and Leighton, 5.

Here, the 28-year-old tells all about motherhood, marriage and loving her body.

How do you look after your health and wellbeing?

“I mainly rely on running around after my two boys: I play games with them to burn off calories. I’ll do an occasional exercise class, but luckily, I don’t gain weight easily. I eat healthily apart from indulging in the odd packet of crisps, nuts and sandwiches. I’m happy pretty much every day, and as I get older, I just get happier.”

What does your romance with Joe Swash mean to you?

“Everything, because it’s transformed my life. When we met in 2015, I’d given up on men, I thought I was done and I was quite happy to be alone with my sons.

“I think that’s probably the reason I found Joe – because I was really content and I wasn’t looking for someone to complete me. I’m really happy with him – at the moment I do think he is ‘Mr Right’.

“He makes me feel secure, loves me unconditionally and sticks up for me even if I’m in the wrong. He’s even tolerant about my horrible habit of picking my nose. That sort of love makes you feel a bit invincible.”

Do you think he might pop the question soon?

Stacey Solomon and Joe Swash attending the Brit Awards in London February 2017 (Ian West/PA)

“We’re taking things really slowly, because we’ve both got children who come first.

“We’re not living together at the moment, but we’re going to gradually integrate our lives – when the kids are ready. I’m still a hopeless romantic and want us to get married, but we’re not ready for that yet.”

Would you like more children?

Stacey Solomon and her sons Zachary Solomon (left) and Leighton Barham in 2015 (David Parry/PA)

“Definitely. I’m one of seven so I always imagined having a big family. The most attractive thing about Joe is that he’s an incredible father to his 10-year-old son. He’s really selfless and caring, and my boys adore him. But I’m aware I have two children from two relationships, and I read a lot of social studies about the impact on children of broken families. I think very seriously about the emotional effects [of having more children], so we don’t want to rush into having a child just yet.”

A brave video you posted, celebrating your ‘real bikini body’ and its ‘imperfections’, went viral overnight on Instagram. Why did you decide to post it?

 

SHOUT OUT TO EVERYONE ON HOLIDAY WORRYING ABOUT HOW THEY LOOK! You're all perfectly imperfect and unique and beautiful. I thought I'd make a little holiday video celebrating my society labelled "imperfections" because actually I love them, they're part of me, and they have their uses! I think if we can all show off our insecurities then we will all start realising NOBODY escapes the world of perfection that we are all under pressure to keep up with and everyone can sleep a little easier at night knowing everyone comes in different shapes sizes etc etc and we all have the same extra ordinary bits that are seen as "imperfections" but they're not they all tell a story of who we are and why we are and where we are going! ??????

A post shared by Stacey Solomon (@staceysolomon) on

“I felt a moral obligation. I don’t think it’s right for people to have a false image of what I look like based on photos that might have been taken after make-up sessions, or those that may have been enhanced. Too many celebrity pictures make women look ‘perfect’. It’s so damaging to other women’s self-esteem. These days, I’m really comfortable with the way I look and I think there are more important things to worry about than than my figure. My wobbly bits, muffin top, saggy boobs and stretch marks from pregnancies are part of me and I’m proud of them.”

What’s been your toughest challenge in life so far?

Stacey Solomon with her son Zachary arriving back at Heathrow after winning ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2010 (Steve Parsons/PA)

“I was only 17 when I got pregnant with Zach, which turned my life upside down. At the time, it was very hard – even though he turned out to be the best thing to happen to me. I suffered from post-natal depression after he was born and it was hard to recover from it.  When I do revisit that time in my head, it feels very dark.

“I’ve learnt now that everything is temporary and things pass eventually. I used to be scared and worried that life was out of control, but I’ve found ways to ride the waves and be more confident.”

What’s really important to you in life?

X-Factor finalist Stacey Solomon with Olly Murs (Ian Nicholson/PA)

“Apart from my brilliant kids, my family and my partner, it’s about being independent. My dad made me and my siblings get weekend jobs as soon as we were old enough, so we learnt the value of working and managing money. I’ve worked in a fish and chip shop and as a saleswoman for double glazing. I never imagined being on X-Factor or that I’d continue to have a career and be on Loose Women. Sitting with intelligent, funny women and talking about things I care about is literally my dream job. I’ve been so lucky.”

What would you change about your past?

“Nothing. I spend my time thinking about getting through the present. I try not to look back unless I think I can learn something. I let the future look after itself; what will be will be.”

Stacey Solomon is transformed into a character from Cartoon Network series. Ben 10, in a surprise for her super-fan son Zach, 9 (Tom Horton/Ben10/PA)

Ben 10 airs weekdays at 4pm on Cartoon Network.


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