Danielle Lloyd: ‘I was a fragile mess – but now I’m stronger!’
Tuesday 04 September 2012
She found fame as a glamour model, so Danielle Lloyd should have been in her element stripping off for Closer’s New You shoot. But the newly-wed – mum to Archie, two, and Harry, 14 months, her sons with footballer husband Jamie O’Hara – admits to feeling nervous, as it’s the first time she’s posed naked since her breasts were ravaged by disastrous plastic surgery seven months ago.
She says: “I’ve been feeling self-conscious about showing off my body, but it feels good to glam up and boost my confidence.”
Danielle, 28 – who married Jamie, 25, in May – was forced to have her E-cup breast implants removed in February, when her breasts started swelling two weeks after she had her third boob job. And, after doctors found a life-threatening blood clot during the procedure, she also had to have an emergency blood transfusion.
After her ordeal, the 5ft 7 model went from 9st to a tiny 8st and her breasts shrank to an AA-cup. She was also left with scarring and loose skin on her left breast.
Danielle – who’s now back to 9st – recalls: “It was devastating. I never want to be that fragile again. I’ve struggled being naked in front of Jamie, although he’s brilliant and says he loves my figure. The scarring bothers me, but I’m trying to get my head around it. I’m alive – that’s the most important thing.”
Danielle has faced dramas in the past – she was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery on her leg in 2009, after being attacked in a London club – but her recent breast scare is just one twist in a roller-coaster 12 months. Highs over the past few months include marrying Wolverhampton Wanderers player Jamie and their sons’ christening at their local church in Little Aston, Birmingham.
But, last December, her world was torn apart when Harry – who was born 10 weeks premature in July 2011 and spent five weeks in intensive care – was rushed back to hospital with breathing problems. Thankfully, he recovered, but Danielle says: “I was exhausted and he was my sole focus. I didn’t even think about my appearance or what I was wearing. None of that seemed to matter – we just wanted him home. It was so scary and makes you re-evaluate what matters. Now my family comes first. I feel like a different person and I’m fine with that. Friends joke I’ve gone from being a party girl to a desperate housewife!”
anielle adds she’s also trying to worry less about what other people think, saying: “People have Tweeted awful things since my op, like I’ve got ‘flat tyres for boobs.’ It’s upsetting, but Jamie reminds me that all that matters is that we’re healthy and happy.”
Danielle plans to have surgery in the near future, but wants to find a surgeon she can trust. She says: “I’d like to have some scar revision or treatment in the future. My left breast is quite disfigured – it’s got a fold over where the nipple is so, although I’m dreading the trauma of another op, I’m definitely going to have some reconstructive surgery.”
And the model says she has now started to think more about her health, explaining: “I try to eat well and work out. I like training on a Hypoxi bike [where you cycle with the lower body in a pressurised chamber]. It helps you burn fat and tone your stomach and thighs, but it’s not too extreme. I’m not one for going to drastic lengths to be thin. Having kids changes your body – my stomach doesn’t feel taut any more. Glamour modelling is fun when you’re young, but I see my body differently now.
“I’d like to do more fashion shoots. And I want to find something that will allow me to be with the kids. I’d love to set up my own business organising events.”
Back in 2009 – the year she met Jamie – Danielle says she was in a “dark place.” Two years earlier, she had exited Celebrity Big Brother in disgrace after making racist comments about her housemate, Indian actress Shilpa Shetty, and the negative attention left Danielle suicidal.
She recalls: “I’d get grief from strangers whenever I went out. I’d drink to mask my emotions. For nearly two years, I didn’t share my feelings with anyone. I was a mess. I reached the point where I didn’t want to be alive.”
Thankfully, a concerned friend contacted Danielle’s mum, Jackie, who put her in touch with counsellor Veronica Valli. Danielle – whose exes include footballers Teddy Sheringham, Jermain Defoe and Marcus Bent – says counselling helped her relationship with Jamie flourish.
She says: “For years, I’d only dated bad boys. I had trust issues after being in violent relationships and having guys cheat on me. I jumped from one relationship to another, but counselling helped me value myself and gave me more confidence. Without that, Jamie and I might not have stood a chance.”
She also turned to her counsellor for support dealing with Harry’s premature birth and when she suffered post-natal depression after having Archie in 2010.
She recalls: “Six months after Archie’s birth, we moved to the West Midlands and I had no friends or family around me. I was in a rut Jamie and I called off our wedding, but it was the best thing that could have happened. It forced us to finally share our feelings. We still do that today and it’s brought us closer.”
Danielle admits she sometimes worries about girls throwing themselves at Jamie, but she tries to keep things in perspective. She explains: “Trust comes with age. We’ve made a commitment to each other and there’s so much more at stake now we have the boys.”
The couple’s traumas have also led them to rediscover their faith – they now attend church every Sunday. “Jamie got christened at the same time as the boys,” Danielle says. “We found ourselves praying when Harry was ill. It gives you strength.”
Danielle’s other lifeline has been her mum, Jackie. The star says: “Mum was amazing when Harry was ill. She came down from Liverpool to help with Archie. She has always been my rock and inspiration. Having kids has made me realise how much she sacrificed for me.”
The past 12 months have also led Danielle to reassess her female friendships. She says: “All women bitch, but I’ve had friends sell stories on me in the past, which is unforgivable. I now only have a handful of close mates, who I trust implicitly.”
One high-profile friend she’s always counted on is fellow model Jordan, real name Katie Price, who recently joined Danielle for her hen party in Liverpool. Danielle says: “Katie has given me some great career advice, but she’s also been there for my kids. She’s like their unofficial godmother!”
The star adds that her life has changed beyond recognition since Celebrity BB, adding: “Everything happens for a reason. I don’t regret anything. You learn from your mistakes – I love the fact that I’m the woman I never thought I’d become.”
As for the future, Danielle hopes another baby will feature, saying: “I’d love a girl.”
But she says while she’s loving family life, she knows keeping things on an even keel is a juggling act. She says: “I want to be a mum who does the school run and takes her kids to football lessons. But that means making sacrifices – like moving house to support Jamie’s work or fitting my career around the boys. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
By Claire Newbon