The Saturdays' Frankie Bridge has admitted eating disorders plagued her career and ultimately affected her pregnancy too.
The singer and presenter discussed the challenges she faced when it came to balancing her mental health issues and starting a family with her footballer husband Wayne Bridge on the Made by Mammas The Podcast.
During the candid conversation, she revealed she suffered from an eating disorder while she was at the height of her fame in the girl group, saying “100% I had an eating disorder, I was controlling what I was eating and I didn’t really eat much. I just kind of always ran on empty.”
Frankie, who has two sons – Parker, seven, and Carter, five – revealed that these eating issues primarily stemmed from her career being based around her looks, adding, “I knew that my role in the band was more about: image and who I was dating, and my hairstyle, and what I was wearing more than my vocals. So I think I took that and ran with it.”
Frankie has been very open about her struggles with her mental health in the past and just last year in February, she released a Sunday Times best-selling book titled: OPEN: Why Asking for Help Can Save Your Life, which explored her own struggles and gave advice to people in similar positions.
Frankie revealed she began to notice her disordered eating aged 15. She was a member of the band S-Club 8, formerly known as S-Club Juniors, from ages 12-15. She then became a member of the girl group the Saturdays at 17 until the band split up in 2015 when she was aged 25.
She suggested during her podcast interview that her condition was triggered by her lack of autonomy over her life during her involvement with The Saturdays, “My life was so controlled by other people that I think controlling my food was the only way I could feel a sense of control over my life.”
Discussing how the pregnancy was triggering for her, Frankie said that she struggled to feel comfortable with her pregnancy weight gain, she states: “When I got pregnant with Parker I literally gained water like no tomorrow, by the time I was three months [pregnant], I had no ankles and I kept gaining and gaining weight.” She goes on to say, “For me it was horrible because one; it was the first time I’d ever gained weight and it was so out of control and two; I was still in the public eye and performing next to the girls… I felt really embarrassed like people were disgusted to watch me.”
Frankie also discussed the stigma of taking medication for your mental health while pregnant: “I couldn’t stay on my anxiety medication but I could stay on my anti-depressants and this is something that is quite controversial which is why I always talk about it.” She says: “There’s always been a stigma around medication anyway and especially when you’re pregnant. Not enough people really know the ins and outs of it and neither did I at the time
Frankie Bridge is now an advocate for various mental health charities, including Mind.