Fearne Cotton describes feeling ‘disposable’ throughout her career

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Fearne Cotton has described feeling “disposable” throughout her career and said she “wasn’t built for” feeling rejected.

The TV and radio star, 39, began her presenting career as a teenager on GMTV children’s programme The Disney Club, after winning a competition.

She presented her own Radio 1 show for six years and has also hosted Top Of The Pops, The Xtra Factor and the early incarnation of Love Island.

Cotton was also a team caption on the comedy show Celebrity Juice from 2008 to 2018 but quit to pursue other projects.

She has since founded a wellness brand, Happy Place, which includes a podcast and festival.

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Speaking to Jessie Ware on her podcast Table Manners, Cotton said: “The first, maybe, even 20 years of my career, I think I subconsciously felt quite disposable, and then later down the line consciously felt very disposable.

“Because you are. You know you can be replaced in an instance and your job will get done.

“And I think that became really tiresome and also I wasn’t built for it.

“There are people who have a really thick skin and can go, ‘I don’t care if I was taken off of that job or if I wasn’t hired, It will be fine!’, whereas I’m really sensitive.

“And I don’t think that that’s really conducive to me feeling great. So I think I started gravitating away from that world maybe in my early 30s.”

Discussing her early career, she said: “I was 15 when I started on Disney Club and I was a tiny child!

“I’ve kind of, and kind of not, got a bit of showbiz in in my background.

“So there’s Bill Cotton and Billy Cotton. Bill Cotton had a big TV show back in the 60s, he was a band leader and he was my grandad’s cousin, my dad’s dad’s cousin.

BBC TV Managing Director – Bill Cotton
Sir Bill Cotton (PA)

“And then his son Bill Cotton, he was a commissioner at the BBC for years, he commissioned Fawlty Towers and those kind of shows, this was my grandad’s cousin’s son.

“I didn’t know anything about them, my dad sort of told me the folklore of the family on that side but there was no connection there at all.

“They were kind of just known people that my dad and grandad would talk about. I wasn’t particularly close with my grandad anyway, so it’s weird that there’s that sort of coincidence that there are sort of two Cottons.

“I grew up in a working class suburban situation, my dad only retired recently as a sign writer, my mum had about five jobs at any one time, and I just loved going to drama club outside of school, really, and that’s how it all unfurled that I just went to audition for anything that was going, and then somehow managed to worm my way on to this kids’ TV show.

“So it was all a really amazing time at that age, going from being a regular school kid to all of a sudden I’m doing this job that I’ve dreamed of doing and it was actually happening.

“Nothing exciting happened in Eastcote, where I grew up, you didn’t even go into London!

“You know you’re in that weird suburbia where you don’t even go into central London because there’s no reason to and it’s expensive and you just wouldn’t bother, but equally you wouldn’t go into the countryside, so you were just sort of in suburbia.

“So it felt very exciting to be going into London to film and to interview popstars, it was a really exciting time.”