Bouncing back | 

Kerry Katona opens up about her desperation as she struggled to feed her kids

The former Atomic Kitten singer revealed that only two years ago she had to sell her vintage jukebox to make ends meet

Kerry Katona

Sunday World

Kerry Katona has revealed how she was once so broke she even considered suicide as she feared she would not be able to afford her kids’ school uniforms or even feed them.

The twice-bankrupt mum of five said that it would come to September and she’d think, “I’ve got to buy five lots of uniforms, five lots of PE kits, five lots of shoes and PE shoes and school bags.

“I’d think, ‘How am I literally going to do it?’"

She added: “I couldn’t afford to pay my rent. I thought, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to feed the kids?’”

The former Atomic Kitten singer told the Dear Deidre podcast that only two years ago, during the first lockdown in 2020, she had to sell her vintage jukebox to make ends meet.

The 41-year-old, who was first declared bankrupt in 2008, after failing to pay the final £86,000 of a £417,000 tax bill, was forced to file for bankruptcy a second time in 2013.

She now feels it was “the best thing that could have happened” as the “stigma that comes with debt” got rid of the hangers-on in her life who “just like little rats, disappeared.”

But broke and friendless, Kerry said she once felt so desperate she even considered suicide.

She said: “There’s been times when I’ve been ­wanting to drive my car off a bridge because I think, ‘How am I going to clothe these five kids?’ I understand the anxiety over money.”

Now, Kerry, who is mum to Molly (20), Lilly-Sue (19), Heidi (15), Max (14) and eight-year-old Dylan-Jorge has said: “I’ve never met anybody like me before, who’s able to keep bouncing back and bouncing back and keep fighting.”

She previously revealed that she has managed to rake in her first million since she lost her fortune through her OnlyFans account by selling racy online content as well as some clever investments.

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Putting her past drug addiction and three failed marriages behind her, she moved into a £2million Cheshire mansion with her fiancé, 34-year-old ­personal trainer Ryan Mahoney only last year.

“I like to think, if I can do it, anybody can do it. It’s not always that easy, but there is always an end to a tunnel,” she added.

“I’ve got my own clothing line, I’ve got a fitness app, a dating website. I’m an investor in Thrillz, the celebrity video messaging platform.”

She has also just announced the release of her third autobiography, Whole Again: My Story, a tell-all book due out this autumn that reportedly earned her a six-figure deal..

After enduring a troubled childhood growing up in a Warrington council flat with mum Sue (62) Kerry said the worst thing you can do is give up on yourself.

“Because you’re giving up on your child,” she stressed. “So don’t ever do that.”

She also offered advice on the podcast to anyone who hits rock bottom.

“If you’re having suicidal thoughts, one thing I will also say is please go to see a doctor and don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed,” she said. “It’s OK not to be OK, you know.”

She divorced Westlife singer Brian McFadden in 2006 and cabbie Mark Croft in 2011 — and dealt with the tragic death of her third ex-hubby George Kay in 2019 following their divorce two years earlier.

Referring to the death of her ex, former rugby player George, Kerry said: “There’s always that bit of, ‘Could I have helped him anymore?’

“I couldn’t, and it wasn’t my responsibility. I had to put me and my children first – there’s only so much you can do."

Kerry, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2005, revealed that moving away from friends connected to her drug habit was the key to getting clean.

She said: “It was the best thing I ever did. I moved down south 13 years ago and never looked back. It’s getting that change of circle.

“When you’re dealing with addiction, it’s changing your circle and getting rid of all of those people out of your phone book, to that extreme.”

Kerry is confident she won’t relapse, saying she’s “a different person now”.

She said cocaine which “nearly killed me” was her worst habit, ahead of Prada heels.

Kerry, who was placed in foster care as a teen said: “All they (kids) want from you is love, and that costs nothing.

“Feeding the ducks costs nothing, going for walks, playing games . . . all a child ever wants from their parent is understanding, emotional support and love.”

Kerry insists her kids are all “very, very humble” although she remembers “my eldest two girls were at private school and we had a couple of cars on the drive and I saw their attitudes change. I’m not like that, me.

“I’m salt of the earth. I took them to a refuge and told them, ‘Not everyone is as fortunate as you are’.

“I think it’s really important to teach children not to rely on anyone else for money.

“Money isn’t happiness. It gives you more options, but it isn’t the be all and end all of everything, it really, really isn’t.”

And Kerry says the worst thing you can do is compare your own situation with someone who is better off.

She said: “Who gives a s**t what’s going on with the Joneses next door?

“It’s no reflection on my life whatsoever, so who cares?

“What goes on in these four walls with my kids, that’s all that matters.”

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