Dani Dyer: ‘Mum thought I was on the verge of taking my own life’

Love Island winner Dani Dyer talks about coping with life’s challenges and how she sought therapy after a toxic relationship. By Hannah Stephenson.

We loved bubbly Essex girl Dani Dyer on Love Island, and since she won the nation’s most popular reality show last year, she’s had to get used to life in the spotlight – especially as far as her on-off romance with Jack Fincham is concerned.

Now, she has written her first book, What Would Dani Do?, in which she shares her experiences around growing up, bullying, relationships, insecurities and being actor Danny Dyer’s daughter.

So, how does Fincham feel about being in the book?

“I haven’t told him too much,” says Dyer, 23. “I didn’t want to tell the world absolutely everything about our relationship, but I know he’s proud of me. He doesn’t really read much, so he might never read the book anyway!”

Just days ago, they were pictured returning from a holiday together in Thailand, so it seems like the romance may still be on – although Dyer remains tight-lipped about their relationship.

The pair moved in together just weeks after Love Island ended, but Dyer recently revealed that they are living separately again – but only because neither wanted to move to where the other lived.

She is reportedly now back on Essex turf and closer to her parents, while Fincham, 27, returned to his old stomping ground in South London.

He’s not the first man to steal Dyer’s heart, though. She writes candidly in her book about how a three-year toxic relationship (she doesn’t name the man) between the age of 16-19 left her with no self-confidence and feelings of worthlessness. The experience drove her to seek counselling.

During that period, her weight dropped to just 7 stone, she lost friends who told her he was too possessive and wasn’t right for her, yet at the time, she was ready to ditch her acting career for this boyfriend.

Dyer became so depressed that her mother feared she might take her own life.

“I wanted to hurt myself but I wasn’t about to finish things off, although my mum said afterwards that she was genuinely worried I was on the verge of taking my own life, because I loved this guy so much and she couldn’t do anything to shake me out of it,” Dyer writes.

Her mum made her go to the doctor, who prescribed medication, which she took for a brief period.

“I had been in such a long and emotional relationship and ended up feeling so damaged, like everything was all my fault,” she writes.

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She says therapy really helped.

“I had 10 therapy sessions and I didn’t tell any of my friends where I was going, not because I felt ashamed about it; I just wanted to keep it personal to me.

“My therapist was amazing and I can’t even explain how much she helped me.”

Finishing with the boyfriend was really difficult, she explains.

“I’d lost myself, I didn’t know who I was any more, I didn’t know what made me laugh, I didn’t know what I liked. I was poorly for about six months,” Dyer writes.

I’d lost myself, I didn’t know who I was any more, I didn’t know what made me laugh, I didn’t know what I liked.

So, what has she learned from her relationships – good and bad?

“Relationships shouldn’t define who you are. They shouldn’t make you. You are who you are. You can have your own life and career that makes you happy, but a partner is an additional happiness. They should never be your everything,” she says now.

“I’m still discovering myself, but there are certain situations I will never allow to happen again,” she continues. “I’m stronger minded now.”

Dyer admits she is still learning how to cope with anxiety.

I am a stress head and let little things annoy me and wind me up

“I think when it comes to coping with things like anxiety and stress, it’s always there, you can’t just get rid of it. Everyone wishes they had an off button.

“You get your good and bad days, and when you have your bad days, you just have to take a step back. With me, I have really busy schedules, so at the end of the day, I have to make sure I’m with someone who makes me feel good.”

She also admits to having insecurities, just like everyone else.

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“We all have insecurities, but it depends how you feel that day. Some days you feel great, some you don’t feel as good, and others you might self-loathe a little bit. Every day is a different emotion, but confidence and security are all about growth as a person. I’m still learning and no-one is perfect.

“I am a stress head and let little things annoy me and wind me up,” she continues.

While Dyer had a blast on Love Island, she wants to take a break from reality shows to return to acting now.

“I don’t see myself doing any more reality shows about me or my relationship. I would like to learn about other people’s lives, investigate stuff or play someone else.”

(Ebury Press/PA)

What Would Dani Do? My Guide To Living Your Best Life By Dani Dyer is published on April 4 by Ebury Press, priced £16.99. For book tour dates, see penguin.co.uk/events.html.

- Press Association

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