Fiona Phillips: I feared I was on the verge of a breakdown

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'People, Places & Things' - Red Carpet

Former GMTV presenter Fiona Phillips has told how she feared she was on the "verge of a breakdown" during her days as the queen of breakfast television.

Early-morning starts, combined with looking after her parents, who both had dementia, and raising two young boys took their toll on the TV star.

Phillips told the Sunday Telegraph that Eamonn Holmes, her co-presenter on GMTV, told her she needed help.

"That was the most stressful period I went through," she said.

"It was absolute madness and I feared I was on the verge of massive depression and a breakdown.

"Eamonn Holmes used to say to me, 'You're clinically depressed and you need to get help'.

"I'd say, 'No, I'm fine'. I felt that if I admitted to it then everything would crumble, and who would look after my mum and dad and the children?"

Phillips said she probably would not "still be here" if it was not for her husband, a former editor of GMTV.

She told the newspaper that one of her children "has had terrible anxiety problems".

"When it's a mental health thing you don't get as much understanding," she said.

"It really is catastrophic, and in a family it's hard.

"As a parent you think, 'God, have we done something wrong here? Are we so stressed out at times he's taken it on board?"

Phillips is presenting a BBC1 documentary, The Truth About Stress.

She said that school experience has been "ruined" for children because they are "so stressed out now", telling the newspaper: "They're just hammering them all the time. They've made education an awful, stressful minefield."