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Michelle Heaton reveals how husband’s ‘heartbreaking’ letter saved her from addiction

The 43-year-old told how her husband Hugh Hanley wrote her an emotional letter as part of her rehabilitation programme

Michelle Heaton

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

EX-RTE star Michelle Heaton has revealed how her husband helped her to overcome addiction by writing a “heartbreaking” letter to her in rehab.

The former Liberty X singer checked herself into The Priory rehab facility in April 2021 after doctors told her that she could die from liver failure due to alcohol and cocaine addiction.

Michelle has been sober ever since and is competing in the latest series of Dancing On Ice against the likes of Love Island winner Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu, the Only Way Is Essex star Joey Essex, and The Wanted singer Siva Kaneswaran.

In an interview with OK! Magazine, the 43-year-old told how her husband Hugh Hanley wrote her an emotional letter as part of her rehabilitation programme, which upset her at the time but now inspires her to “keep doing what I’m doing”.

“It was heartbreaking to hear,” Michelle told the publication.

“At this point I was sober and it was read out by a fellow in the programme, so I could really acknowledge what was written.

“I realised what chaos I’d brought on my family. In addiction you just don’t see it. I have that letter beside my bed today and when I read it now it affects me in a different way and confirms to keep doing what I’m doing.”

In the letter, Hugh admitted that his wife’s “addictive behaviour” was damaging and “robbed me of my wife and the kids of their mummy”.

Reflecting on his words, Hugh said: “That was really tough. I felt like I was kicking my loved one when she was down because the purpose of the letter is to show them things they’d done that may have upset you when they were an addict.”

The couple also opened up about the terrifying moment they learned that Michelle’s alcohol dependency could kill her, leaving Hugh and their kids Faith (10) and AJ (8) behind.

“That was scary because I was listening to a medical professional saying my wife could die,” Irishman Hugh explained.

“I had this realisation – my wife, the mother of my children, might not get through this. I’m sitting there looking at her saying, ‘You’ve got to stop.’

“She gave me her promise and I held on to that hope for a couple of weeks, but three weeks later we were having the same conversation and all of a sudden two years of empty promises had passed.”

Michelle said: “I meant the promises. I really did want to stop. I always tried, but my addiction got the better of me.

“One time I was admitted to hospital after collapsing in active addiction. I left the next day feeling great and walked straight to the off licence and bought more vodka.

“I swore I was on the mend – but it was the only way I knew how to live. It got to the point where I was crying so much through drinking.

“I was drinking and sobbing and praying to God for help. I couldn’t understand why I kept having to drink. I didn’t acknowledge for one moment I was an addict or an alcoholic.”

Hugh said that Michelle’s journey to sobriety was “by no means an easy battle” but the couple are “very lucky” that things worked out for their family.

“We’re very lucky to have got a second chance at our marriage – and by that I mean Michelle’s worked hard on her programme to get herself sober and we can enjoy each other a lot more now.

“We’re aware it could have easily gone the other way. I never considered walking away, but it was by no means an easy battle to come through the other side.”


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