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How Dancing on Ice star Michelle Heaton bravely overcame horror drug & booze addiction after emotional note from husband | The Sun

AFTER taking to the rink for her first number in Dancing on Ice, Michelle Heaton was overcome with emotion as she praised the show for giving her a "second chance".

It was a heartfelt sentiment from the Liberty X singer who, just two years ago, was in the grip of a drink and drug addiction that nearly cost her her family and her life.


When she hit rock bottom she was drinking a bottle of vodka and two bottles of wine a day.

She was hospitalised on several occasions and admitted she prioritised buying booze over taking kids Faith, 11, and AJ, nine, to school.

“I'd given up on life,” the 43-year-old told Closer in a recent interview.

“At my lowest point I'd wake up in the morning and pray for someone to help me, or I just wanted to die.

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“I didn't care about losing my family or friends, it was only about where the next drink was coming from.

"My skin was grey, I was exhausted and my body was completely unrecognisable and bloated.”

Now sober for 21 months she told the DOI audience she had been up for the ITV show several years ago but was "in no fit state to do it".

But the mum-of-two turned her life around after an intervention by pals put her in the Priory rehab centre – and a powerful letter from husband Hugh Hanley, calling her a “liar” and “untrustworthy”, made her vow to fight for her family.

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Michelle had an emotional start to DOICredit: Eroteme
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Michelle's booze habit landed her in hospital on a few occasionsCredit: Instagram

Lost control

In 2012 Michelle made the brave decision to have a double mastectomy, followed by a hysterectomy in 2015 after she was diagnosed as a carrier of the BCA2 cancer gene.

Admitting she started “using alcohol as a crutch”, lockdown saw her spiral into a dangerous addiction, saying she "couldn't breathe without drinking".

“We weren't interacting with people, so ultimately it became a party for one,” she says.

“It became self sabotage on my part and, at some point, over the last year and a half I lost complete control and I was completely powerless to alcohol. I don't know when or how it happened but at some point it did."

On New Year’s Eve in 2020, the singer – who was also using cocaine – was rushed to hospital and recently shared shocking pictures of herself on a drip.

She wrote: "Two years ago this was me. I was admitted to hospital, not for the first or the last time.

"I left the hospital the next day, I walked over to the off-licence and bought more vodka. 

"Seems insane? It is! But it was the only way I knew how to live. So I thought.

"I swore to my peers, family and doctors I was on the mend. I meant it. But the mind of an addict had a different plan."


Saved by celeb pals

As well as having a huge impact on her health, Michelle’s addiction was driving a wedge between her and devoted husband Hugh, who she wed in the Bahamas in 2010.

But it was her celebrity pals – including Katie Price – who finally stepped in and clubbed together to pay for a 28 day stint in the Priory, after a three day cocaine bender in April 2021.

"I was crying out for help when I couldn’t actually ask for help. But when you’re an addict, it feels like there’s no way out," she told The Sun.

Recalling the moment her friends offered their support, Michelle added: "I was shaking and I was crying. I was intoxicated. Katie Price said, 'Right, you’re going to The Priory.'

"My first instinct was ‘Thank God’. I never asked for help but they could see I needed it."

Doctors told Michelle her body had begun shutting down and she was on the verge of dying from cirrhosis of her liver.

Speaking to the star on Lorraine, Priory expert Dr Niall Campbell said she had “alcoholic hepatitis” and was heading towards permanent liver damage, adding: “I don’t quite know how you were still alive.”


Harrowing letter 

Despite being the target of her drunken rages, Hugh refused to walk away from their marriage, saying: "We’ve been together for 14 years now, so I was well aware of who Michelle is and that this wasn’t her.

“I just think it was the desire and hope to get my wife back."

As she took the first steps towards sobriety at the clinic, Hugh wrote his wife a heartfelt letter detailing how the addiction had impacted their family.

“The last three years I have watched you spiral and turn into someone I don't recognise. The strain that has been put on our relationship has been very demanding and I have been left embarrassed several times by the way you spoke to me in front of people which was never you, you were always my biggest fan,” he wrote.

“Your addictive behaviour has hurt me a lot personally, Chelle, and it has turned you into a liar.

“You have become someone who is very untrustworthy, your behaviour has robbed me of my wife and the kids of their mummy."

The brutally honest letter hit home and Michelle vowed to turn her life around, later telling Loose Women: “Addiction got me and addiction created that person that I don't even recognise now."

She also revealed her guilt at putting drink before her kids, saying: "I wasn't present for anybody. I didn't give them what they needed.”

Hugh later admitted he had no idea his wife was taking drugs.

"Stuff came out while she was in there — I didn’t know anything about cocaine,” he told The Sun.

"Thankfully we were able to talk and not be in a situation where it escalated."

Hugh said he'd explained Michelle's treatment to their kids by telling them she'd been "cross" and had gone away to "get happy again".

Body transformation

Through The Priory, Michelle embarked on the Twelve Steps recovery programme originally designed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to help addicts and their families and friends.

In October 2021 she celebrated reaching the 12th step with a holiday in the dry B&B, Casa Salvia, in Tenerife.

The following Christmas she spoke about facing her first festive period sober, and said she was “looking forward to it".

As she battled back to health, the mum-of-two began hitting the gym instead of the bottle and posts regular updates on on her impressive six pack. 

She alternates them with before and after pictures to remind her 300k followers what a wreck she was before she got the help she needed, and encourage others to reach out to friends who may have a problem with booze or drugs.  

In a recent post she shared an inspirational message for parents, urging people who say "I’d die for my kids" to say "I’d live for them" instead.


Finally content

Michelle has come a long way from the dark days of addiction and has undergone a complete transformation.

With her marriage back on track she's enjoying her role as a nurturing mum, and recently revealed she is embracing happiness for the first time.

She added: “I’m really healthy. I enjoy food, and life is so much better.

"It’s clear, I’m not looking through a haze now. It didn’t happen overnight, but I can appreciate things.

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"I used to hate the word 'content'. When Hugh used to use it I’d go mental, as I’d think it meant settling. I’d argue with him.

"Now I understand what content means – it’s serenity and having peace. I believe I’ve got that now."

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