In an emotional interview, Chantelle Houghton tells this week’s heat magazine how, because of extreme dieting, she might never be a mum…
Chantelle has just been given the devastating news that, at 27, she will never be able to conceive children naturally – something that, like many women, she’d always dreamt of doing one day.
She believes it is the way she’s treated her body and her desire to be thin that has cost her the chance of having a precious baby. “I’ve punished my body, and now it’s punishing me,” she says.
It’s no real secret that Chantelle has had some body issues over the years. Ever since she was 14, she has suffered with bulimia, and when she won Celebrity Big Brother in 2006 her showbiz lifestyle saw her weight plummet to a worrying level. But, after years of extreme dieting and making herself sick after every meal, Chantelle tells heat that she never realised the unseen damage she was doing – and now she’ll have to live with the heart-breaking consequences forever.
“I can never forgive myself,” she says, clinging to a picture of herself at her thinnest, which she’s vowed to keep as a “reminder” never to go down that path again.
So why isn’t she dealing with this shocking news privately behind closed doors? Because Chantelle wants to raise awareness, in the hope that readers won’t have to receive the same devastating news one day.
Speaking about how she found out something was amiss, Chantelle said: “I had some pain in my left ovary. I just felt like something was wrong, I just knew. I decided to go to a gynaecology and fertility clinic to check if I had any problems. Never in a million years did I think that I would find out this.”
She added: “There were three parts to the examination. They checked my ovarian reserve through a blood test [AMH], and I had a scan to check the number of small follicles in the ovaries. Then the potency of my tubes was checked by saline hysterography, which was very painful. It was horrible. There was a woman in the room next to me screaming with the pain. I was told on that day that my left tube was blocked, but the blood test was going to show if there were any big problems, and reveal what my fertility was like.”
“I was at home and had no idea they were going to arrive in the post. I opened it and saw numbers and a graph and there were all these words like “low” and “diminished”. I went straight on the internet to see what it all meant. I worked out that my egg count was really low and that the results were bad – I just couldn’t get my head round it.”
Chantelle revisited her doctor two days after the results arrived, and it was then that her doctor told her the devastating news. “He told me that I’d never be able to conceive naturally. Dr Gorgy told me that I had low fertility and that if I wanted to have a baby, I’d have to have IVF. He said that if I’d waited another three years, I would never be able to have children at all. I wouldn’t have any eggs left. There’s always the chance I could miraculously fall pregnant naturally, but it’s so remote.”
She said: “Ultimately it’s my fault.”
“I hate myself and can never forgive myself. Because of my obsession with food and my crash dieting when I had bulimia, I’ve ruined my chances of having a baby naturally. All the time I was making myself sick, I was thinking “Yes, I’m getting skinnier.” I thought I was winning, but I was losing. It’s cost me the chance of a family.”
Now Chantelle’s hoping her story will help warn other young women about the dangers of bulimia. Asked what she’d say to someone who is making themselves sick, she said: “I hope they’ll see what’s happened to me and realise what they’re doing – the long-term effects. I’m 27 and I can’t have children naturally. Being stick-thin – is it worth that?”
The full story appears in this week’s heat magazine, on sale now (Tuesday).