I’m A Celebrity: How Fleur East’s battle with depression has shaped her life

She has been the ever-smiling face of the jungle, picking up others when they are down.

That is because Fleur East knows what it is like to battle and overcome depression.

Her family say that strength has helped the I’m a Celebrity star become so popular in the jungle.

Fleur’s cousin Nick Meaney said the singer was once in such a bad place that her family feared she would give up on her dream of stardom altogether.

I'm A Celebrity: How Fleur East's battle with depression has shaped her life

Fleur East in the shower
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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He said: “She was just jobbing, trying to get her music out there. She found she was depressed. Her career wasn’t going the way she wanted it to.

“Like anyone, you have your doubts.” But he said she had “that resilience to keep going”.

He added: “She said, ‘I do believe in myself and I am pushing myself’.”

The same passion that has helped Fleur through the trials of jungle life – and could lead to her becoming one of the biggest winners after the show – also helped her overcome her troubles.

Nick said: “Resilience and determination got her through that bleak period and I think it’s her biggest asset in the jungle. We all go through our struggles with our self-esteem, but it’s about how you handle it.”

I'm A Celebrity: How Fleur East's battle with depression has shaped her life

Fleur East and Harry Redknapp
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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Fleur, 31, has said of depression: “There was no motivation in me, there wasn’t even any drive to get up in the morning because what’s the point? I was definitely depressed.”

Her main low point came in 2014. She had been trying to get a big break for years and had borrowed thousands of pounds from her family to make it as a singer.

Fleur, who grew up in Walthamstow, East London, with mum Irene, had been in three girl bands since school. One, Addictiv Ladies, made the live shows of The X Factor in 2005 but left in the second week.

With so many setbacks Fleur started “spending all day in pyjamas”, not wanting to leave the house. But later in 2014, she went on The X Factor again, solo, and made the final.

I'm A Celebrity: How Fleur East's battle with depression has shaped her life

Fleur East
(Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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That, combined with her love of exercise, helped her recover, according to Nick, 56.

And he said her battles have only made her more successful. He went on: “The thing about Fleur is that she’s a fighter… extremely competitive.

“To get into the entertainment industry and survive takes so much determination and persistence. And when Fleur decides to do something she puts 100% into it; it’s not 99%.”

That attitude has been seen in the jungle challenges Fleur has taken part in, including a Dingo Dollar one which left her covered in treacle.

I'm A Celebrity: How Fleur East's battle with depression has shaped her life

Fleur East
(Image: SYCO/THAMES TV/PA)

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Meanwhile Fleur’s figure has been the envy of many. Though Nick, who launched fitness firm W8 Gym with her, said: “She trains to the extreme sometimes, until she’s feeling sick. It’s that sportsman type of a thing.”

While Fleur may once have worried about money, her decision to do I’m a Celebrity could now change everything.

Not that she jumped at the chance of it before. Nick said: “They’d asked her for years to do it.

“I think she got to a point and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give this a shot. I want to discover myself’.

“I don’t think money was the major factor. Fleur loves a challenge.”

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