Roxanne Pallett: I was told I was more hated than a murderer
Roxanne Pallett has said she was told she was "more hated than a murderer" in the wake of the backlash following "punchgate" on Celebrity Big Brother last year.
The former Emmerdale actress has also spoken about how she "dropped to a size 4" and suffered hair loss and extreme paranoia after she wrongly accused soap star Ryan Thomas of "punching" her during their time in the Celebrity Big Brother house.
The 37-year-old later apologised on national TV during an interview with Big Brother host Emma Willis, saying she had got it "massively wrong", and she has been out of the limelight ever since.
In an interview with Closer magazine she has now spoken about being diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and revealed she has also ended it with her fiance, steel worker Lee Walton.
She said: "It's been a real mountain to climb, for me to get to this point today. I've been nervous about it, because my confidence has taken a knock.
"It's daunting, as people still have their opinions of me, which they are completely entitled to.
"It's bad enough when one person doesn't like you, but when thousands are against you... But I do understand it. The last few months have been the most valuable and rewarding of my life. I've completely reset my mind and my thoughts. I went off the grid for therapy, which was needed for my mental health."
She continued: "I absolutely regret what happened on the show, 100%. I got it monumentally wrong, and I'm sorry to Ryan and his family, for the pain I inflicted on him and others who were watching".
The actress and radio presenter, who quit her job as a co-host on Minster FM's breakfast show following the incident, also deleted her social media presence and said she did not leave the house for two months as she feared being verbally or physically attacked.
She said: "It was an awful blur. All my insecurities were heightened. I had feelings of paranoia, and feared something bad would happen to me.
"When the phone rang, I'd feel sick. If I passed someone on the street, I was convinced they meant me harm. I was told that people were saying they wanted to throw acid in my face and that I was more hated than a murderer.
"I lost a stone-and-a-half, and dropped to a size 4 during the period between leaving Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls and after CBB. My hair was falling out, and my insomnia got worse. I felt drained, exhausted and out of breath. I wasn't eating or sleeping or leaving the house, and I was only talking to three other people."
She told Closer that "looking back, I should have got help 20 years ago" as she recalled previous harrowing experiences including being trapped in a house fire aged 16.
She said: "Two weeks before Celebrity Big Brother, I'd been in a car crash and the minute it happened I was on edge and defensive. I was hiding a huge breakdown. My mind had gone to mush, I was getting flashbacks of the house fire and I wasn't thinking straight.
"I kept changing my mind and being erratic. I was jumping to conclusions that weren't accurate, yet still I laughed and put on a pretence. These invisible wounds were destroying me."
Pallett said her recovery has been aided by a combination of counselling sessions, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and time she spent away in the US.
Talking about her relationship with Walton, who she met online and became engaged to after just one week of dating, she told Closer: "The first major decision I made after CBB was to end my relationship. Last year, I got embarrassingly carried away and badly wanted to carve out some happiness.
"I looked at my friends who were engaged and settled with kids; I was 36 and didn't have any of that. If anybody had shown me affection, and told me we had things in common, I would have just clung to it – and that's what happened.
"It was contrived happiness. I was engaged to someone I didn't know. The isolation after CBB gave me clarity, and I realised Lee wasn't the one and it wouldn't have been fair to stay when my heart wasn't in it. He isn't a bad person, we were just on different pages."
The full interview is in this week's Closer.