| 2.6°C Dublin

'Chelle's Hell Michelle Heaton's husband reveals he was shocked to learn of her cocaine addiction

Dubliner Hugh discloses on the Virgin Media show ‘Living with Lucy’ that he used to find bottles of vodka hidden around their home in north London during the height of her addiction.

Close

Lucy Kennedy with Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley

Lucy Kennedy with Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley

Lucy Kennedy with Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley

SINGER Michelle Heaton’s Irish husband Hugh Hanley has revealed he was shocked to find out that when his wife entered rehab that she was a secret cocaine addict.

The Liberty X star admitted herself earlier this year to The Priory initially for alcoholism, having been told by doctors she had just weeks to live if she did not change her life around.

Dubliner Hugh discloses on the Virgin Media show ‘Living with Lucy’ that he used to find bottles of vodka hidden around their home in north London during the height of her addiction.

The 42-year-old is a mother of two young children, Faith (nine) and AJ (seven), and was treated earlier this year.

Close

Michelle Heaton (Matt Alexander/PA)

Michelle Heaton (Matt Alexander/PA)

Michelle Heaton (Matt Alexander/PA)

Her hospitalisation came after several she had two major operations, a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy, after she was found to have the genetic BRCA2 cancer gene.

“It was just awful, really really bad,” Hugh, who is a teetotaller, tells presenter Lucy Kennedy.

“We were told in September 2020 that she was going to die, by the doctors, because of the addiction. For a few months she did nothing about it. The liver and the pancreas were just packing in completely. You tried to get a little bit better, but the addiction got hold of her again.”

Hugh, who is a chief operating officer of a fitness company, married Michelle in 2010 after she fell in love with him and moved into his apartment in Dublin.

While in Ireland she had several media jobs here, as a judge on RTE’s You’re A Star and also took part in the likes of Failte Towers and The Apprentice.

“She just kept getting worse and worse,” says Hugh of her recent alcoholism.

Close

 Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley attends Pride Of Britain Awards 2019 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley attends Pride Of Britain Awards 2019 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Michelle Heaton and Hugh Hanley attends Pride Of Britain Awards 2019 at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“Then it becomes a situation where for me you have this problem where the person you love is spiralling but your responsibility is to the kids, but also try and protect the woman you love.

“’I want to be here with you, I want to look after you, but I don’t want the kids to see you like this, struggling, because this isn’t who you are’.”

He confirms he always knew thee ‘real Michelle was in there’ despite her drink problem.

“You’d find bottles everywhere. Bottles of water in the fridge, you’d take it out and sniff it and it would be vodka. Coffee cups. Then they were hidden, everywhere,” he recalls.

“She would have it in a bottle of water wherever she went.”

Unknown to Hugh, Michelle was also secretly taking cocaine.

“There was one day, probably about three days before she went in (to rehab) she had a fit in bed, I’m talking about white stuff coming out of her mouth,” he recollects.

“She was shaking. She was completely out of it, her eyes were rolling back in her head, and this was two o’clock in the morning

“You’re trying to say ‘Keep quiet, don’t wake the kids, I need to call an ambulance, are you OK?'

"Her eyes are rolling and then she comes back and ‘I just had an attack, I’m OK’ It was just weird and a little scary.”

He managed to shield their kids away from seeing her condition.

“As much as me and her best friends loved her and wanted her to get help, until she was willing to walk in to The Priory she had to own that journey,” he explains, adding their marriage was under threat.

“There were days where I’m like ‘what am I doing’,” he confirms. “You’re constantly just getting verbally given out to, everything you do is wrong.

"You question your own sanity with an addict.”

To make matters worse anti-drugs Hugh found out his wife was also addicted to coke.

“I got caught off guard on that one, because she knew I was so anti it, she effectively just hid it and did it when I was in bed, so I knew nothing about it,” he reflects. “So that was the hardest thing to swallow.

“The whole process was the sheer lack of respect, because she knew I hated that whole world and it wasn’t for me.

“The fact she had done that hurt me the most out of everything.”

He adds: “I think Michelle is more hurt and upset by her behaviour that I am. We have had a few bad years, we will have many good years.

"She’s the best in the world. She lost her way a little, but who doesn’t. She just unfortunately did on a bigger scale.”

Michelle, whose band topped the charts in 2002 with ‘Just a little’, now has a sponsor and is keeping to a programme.

“I always had an issue, problem, but lockdown made it speed up. I’m more accessible to do so, because we weren’t driving anywhere,” she says of her battle with booze.

“He was batting his head against on a wall, ‘don’t Chelle, don’t, why can’t you stop’. I couldn’t even say ‘I can’t’.

“I said ‘I’ve got this, I’m fine, I can stop tomorrow’. Because I really believed it. In reality I was not going to last much longer, and that’s what we couldn’t get our head around until I went into the Priory.”

She still misses drink.

“I miss it, I loved drinking wine,” she confesses. “Vodka was the end of me…I was about to die. I was two or three days (away from dying).”

When revealed she had both her major operations before the age of 40 in a bid to stop her getting cancer.

“After we had AJ I had already planned my hysterectomy six months after the birth of him, so we already knew what I was going to do and had planned,” she says.

“Awful. It was just such a hard decision because I just wasn’t prepared for menopause at that age. I suffered from really bad depression, migraines.

“For menopause I have an implant, but with the amount of alcohol I was drinking, alcohol doesn’t allow HRT to work properly.

“I had no idea, not that it would have stopped me anyway.

“But since I came out of the Priory with the HRT I can feel better on it, whereas I never felt the benefits before.”

Living With Lucy is on tonight on Virgin Media One 9pm

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy