Frankie Bridge has been in the public eye for over half her life, shooting to fame as part of pop group S Club Juniors in 2001, aged just 12 years old.
In 2007, she joined girl band The Saturdays alongside fellow S Clubber Rochelle Humes.
And it seems as though Frankie, now 31, has it all – having got married to footballer Wayne Bridge, 39, in 2014, and being a mum to their two sons, Parker, six, and four-year-old Carter.
But beneath the dream job and loving family, Frankie has been struggling with depression for most of her career, which culminated in her being sent to rehab in 2011- and she’s now opened up about her journey in a new book, OPEN.
As we sit down to chat to Frankie about the memoir, she tells us how she managed to overcome her lowest point, why she’s happy she didn’t grow up with social media and how she wishes she’d waited until she was older to settle down and have a family…
Hi, Frankie! You and Wayne seem very good together. What’s your secret to a happy marriage?
We’ve been together 10 years and I think you just have to grow with each other, which is easier said than done. You have to make time for each other, with two children and jobs.
Do you think meeting Wayne and becoming a mum changed things for you?
Yeah, I’m very lucky with Wayne in that he stuck around at a time when he could’ve easily not. He’s really taken the time and made the effort to understand my mental health issues.
With the kids, it could’ve made it so much worse, because obviously you worry about your kids 24/7. But actually they’ve helped me realise that I can’t control every aspect of life, and they help you to enjoy the small things that, as adults, we don’t any more.
How is your mental health these days?
It’s so much better. I still have bad days but I know now that if I’ve got the time
I just have to give into it, wallow in it for the day and then I’ll come out of it a lot quicker. For years, I spent so long trying to push it down, push it away and ignore it, and it just built and built.
At what point would you say you were at your lowest?
Just before I went into hospital in 2011, I was at a really low point. I felt out of control and I just didn’t really know who I was any more, and it was a really scary feeling. What are your coping strategies now?
I take medication, I go to therapy when I feel like I need it and I try and go to the gym or go for a walk. And I just try and surround myself with the right people.
Do you think being in the public eye so young played a part in your mental health?
Even from such a young age I was such a worrier, so I think I would’ve suffered either way. But I definitely think it contributed to it, just because of the pressure of being in the public eye and the pressure you put on yourself to live up to people’s expectations.
Obviously there wasn’t social media when you first became famous. How do you think you would’ve coped if you were that age now with social media?
I just feel so lucky that it wasn’t a thing. I was so blissfully unaware of what people thought about me and I just got to enjoy what I was doing and I think, as a child, that’s how it should be.
Do you ever get trolled?
You get the odd person who says something awful, but it doesn’t really bother me. But if they say anything about Wayne or the boys, then it bothers me.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
Better things are coming and you’ll figure it out. When you’re younger, you worry so much – ‘Am I going to get married? Am I going to have kids? Am I going to have a good career? Am I going to buy a house?’
You’re in such a rush to do all those things, and when I look back now, I think, I was so young, I wish I’d have just let myself be young and enjoy it.
OPEN by Frankie Bridge (£18.99, Cassell, HB) is out now. Also available in ebook and audiobook formats. Visit octopusbooks.co.uk)