‘I lost 44st and found love thanks to Closer’
Tuesday 29 November 2011
After losing a massive 44st, newly slim Colin Corfield should have been full of confidence and ready for love.
But after drastic gastric bypass surgery to tackle the morbid obesity that had left him at a life-threatening 60st, he had an enormous apron of skin hanging from his tummy – leaving him too embarrassed to approach women.
However, after enduring painful operations to remove 2st of saggy skin, Colin, 43, has finally found a woman who finds him irresistible.
Incredibly, Anne-Marie Giles, 31, read about Colin’s weight loss in Closer and then contacted him through Facebook.
She says: “It sounds crazy, but as soon as I saw Colin in Closer, I fell in love with him. I just thought he was such a lovely man, I was bowled over. I didn’t care what he looked like – whether he was big or not.”
Colin is equally smitten. He says: “Anne-Marie is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and the weird thing is, it was my being big that has brought us together.”
Anne-Marie and her three young daughters – by her ex-partner – have since moved from Essex to a house close to Colin’s in Runcorn, Cheshire. The couple are planning their first Christmas together and hope for a baby of their own in the future.
Life was very different for Colin six years ago, when doctors warned that he was risking death unless he lost half his body weight.
Colin, who’s 5ft 9, had first started to pile on the pounds as a toddler. By the age of 10 he could no longer fit into children’s clothes and was bullied by other kids, who cruelly called him “Tommy 10 bellies.”
His mum, Jean, couldn’t understand her son’s huge weight gain as she cooked healthy meals – but Colin was secretly spending his pocket money on chocolate and crisps.
At 14 – and too big for a uniform – Jean had to send him to school in men’s suits. By 20 he weighed over 25st, but continued to binge eat his way to a shocking 60st by the age of 36.
“I knew he wasn’t being honest,” Jean told Closer in 2008. “I’d shout at him because I could see he was killing himself.”
After decades of battling his addiction to takeaways and lager, often guzzling 30 pints a day, Colin knew surgery was his last hope.
But with a three-year NHS waiting list for a gastric bypass, Jean decided to sell her bungalow and move into sheltered accommodation to pay for Colin to have the £32,000 operation privately in November 2006, at the University Hospital, Aintree.
But doctors told Colin he had to lose a staggering 22st first – or risk dying under anaesthetic.
“I enrolled at Slimming World and cut out junk food and booze,” Colin recalls. “The thought of having the surgery kept me going.”
In the year before his op, Colin managed to slim down to 38st, and lost another 18st in the 26 months following surgery – taking him to 16st.
But his enormous weight loss had left him with an apron of skin around his stomach, bingo wings, man boobs and baggy skin around his knees – and his self-esteem at rock bottom.
Luckily, doctors at a private surgical centre in London saw Colin on ITV documentary Lose 30 Stone Or Die and offered to carry out surgery to remove
it free of charge. During three operations in 2008 they removed 2st of excess skin, leaving Colin a trim 14st.
By the time Anne-Marie got in touch, he already felt more confident.
“Although I’d wanted to meet someone, my hang-ups about my body meant I hadn’t ever been comfortable around women. Before I had my loose skin removed I had got chatting to women, but I wouldn’t take it further because I didn’t ever want them to see me naked,” says Colin – who, despite having had girlfriends before his surgeries, never found anyone special.
And when Anne-Marie first contacted him, Colin had no idea that she fancied him.
“When I got the first Facebook message from Anne-Marie – saying that she found my story inspiring – I didn’t think much of it,” he says.
“I got hundreds of messages from men and women wishing me well, so it didn’t stand out as being unusual – I didn’t reply.
“But when I posted status updates she’d ‘like’ or comment on them, so I started to message her back, just friendly chat.
“Then I looked through her profile pictures – she was gorgeous. After a few weeks she gave me her mobile number and we started texting every day.”
Anne-Marie, who Colin says is perfect at 5ft 7 and a size 14, reveals: “I’ve loved Colin since the first time I saw him – and I wouldn’t care if he was big again, as long as he was healthy.”
Despite texting every day, the 250 miles between the couple meant it was two years before they decided to meet in person.
“Anne-Marie had told me she liked me and I realised I was developing feelings for her, too,” explains Colin.
They met at the Essex home she shared with daughters Jessica, nine, Izzy, seven, and Isla, two, at the start of 2011.
“I fancied him as soon as I saw him and he was even kinder and funnier in real life,” says Anne-Marie.
“We stayed in on the first night and chatted. Neither of us was nervous.
“Colin had known from the beginning I had children, but they weren’t there for his first visit. I wanted us to be alone.
“We shared a kiss that night but he stayed in the spare room – we didn’t want to rush things.
“We went out for dinner the next evening – although Colin could only have small portions because of his surgery – and spent the night together.
“I thought Colin might be self-conscious but he wasn’t. His body looked normal – I couldn’t wait to get my hands on him. It was a wonderful night.”
After years of low self-esteem, Colin was finally ready for love. He says: “I hadn’t been close to a woman for a long time, but after the ops I’d started to get my confidence back. She liked me for who I was, so when we spent the night together my self-consciousness had gone.”
By the end of that weekend, the couple had fallen in love.
“I told him I loved him after that first meeting. I was scared, but he said he felt the same,” says Anne-Marie.
Over the next six months, they shuttled between Runcorn and Essex, with Colin romancing Anne-Marie with flowers, chocolates and cosy nights in.
“We enjoy cooking for each other and I can eat whatever I want as long as the portions are small,” says Colin.
“I’m 16st now. I was a bit too thin at first, but now my body has reached its happy medium.”
By this summer they decided the 500-mile round trip was too much – and in July Anne-Marie moved to Runcorn.
“I had to make sure my children were happy and they are,” she says. “They love Colin to bits – they’ve fallen for him like I have.”
Colin says: “When I weighed 60st I had nothing to live for, I’d been lying in bed for two years.
“But having found Anne-Marie, I feel as though I’m the luckiest man in the world.”
Anne-Marie adds: “The only thing that could make things more perfect is having a baby of our own – that’s our next
By Claire Donnelly