I'm A Celebrity winner Giovanna Fletcher says she hated her body before long journey to self-confidence

When Giovanna Fletcher was crowned Queen of the Castle last month, following three weeks living off the notoriously meagre I’m A Celebrity! rations (700 calories a day, plus the odd bull’s penis), her good friend Matt Willis suggested she would have to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Giovanna’s response was to laugh out loud. Because, just like most women with a lifetime of yo-yoing behind them, she was more than covered clothes-wise for a change in weight.

“I’m a woman who has about six different sizes in her wardrobe, so I’m OK!” she says.

“I go up and down in weight, depending on what time of the month it is or what is happening in my life. Every book I write, I put on half a stone. It comes off when I become more active again.”

Anyway, she jokes, the sheer number of cakes and treats sent to the Fletcher home celebrating her victory will soon rectify that situation.

But viewers who were impressed by her positivity, resilience and calm in the castle may be surprised to learn that Giovanna’s relationship with her body hasn’t always been such a healthy one.

She spent much of her teens and 20s actively “loathing” it and she can track those feelings of contempt all the way back to her early childhood.

“I remember being on Frinton beach when I was about nine and seeing stretch marks on my thighs. I was always the tubbier one.

"Compared to my brother and sister who were like sticks, I was much curvier.

“So from a young age I was aware that I was a bit chubby and things people didn’t mean as negative became just that.

“I think about the women in my life and how they viewed their bodies – Mr Motivator was a massive thing in our house as well as the constant diets, so I learned that women needed to look a certain way and I never felt that I did.”

As she moved into her teens, Giovanna became increasingly conscious of how she looked and obsessed over how she could change her shape.

“I had a dysfunctional relationship with food – certainly how I viewed my body and definitely how I treated it in terms of food was dysfunctional.

"I think as a teenager I felt less worthy because I didn’t look a certain way and that definitely carried through with endless dieting, always trying to restrict my intake and going to the gym.


“I look back at photos now and think: ‘What were you worried about?’ But at the time it was about punishing my body, being skinny and making myself smaller because then I’d be more acceptable.”

When Giovanna, now 35, suffered a miscarriage at six weeks with her first pregnancy in 2012, it fed into the negativity she already felt about her body.

But becoming pregnant with eldest child Buzz the following year and giving birth to him in March 2014 began the repair work.

She continued to heal with each baby – Buddy, now four, came along in 2016 and Max, now two, in 2018.

This body… I hated it for so long but it’s given me three kids and fed them – I’m in awe of it

“The miscarriage shook me in many ways and left me with even more resentment towards my body. There was so much anger, I just felt it had failed me.

“But when I was pregnant with Buzz, I felt so womanly, I loved my curves and what my body was doing.

"It was the first time I felt like I could celebrate my body because it was doing an amazing thing. The female form is incredible.”

Perhaps the biggest shift came when Giovanna agreed to take part in the Vitality London 10,000 last year – a 10K run through the city wearing only her underwear.

Even as she accepted the challenge, she could barely believe it and husband Tom Fletcher, 35, was floored when she told him her plans.

“I was like: ‘F**k it, I’ll do it.’ Tom was a bit: ‘Really…? In your underwear? Through London?’ And it was like: ‘Yeah! I’m celebrating my body!’

“I took tops with me on the day ‘just in case’ but when I got there I thought: ‘Sod it! Let’s rip the band-aid off.’

"So I whipped all of my clothes off and chucked glitter all over myself and I laughed and whooped the whole way around that 10K.”

Afterwards she posted a thank-you note to her body on Instagram (“From the way you wobble and dimple to the way you fill my heart with love – thank you!”) and then one of apology to it in her latest book Letters On Motherhood.

“This body… I hated it for so long but it’s given me three kids and fed them – I’m in awe of it. I think our bodies are immense and as women we need to celebrate that.

“And running, which I always said I couldn’t do, has an amazing effect on my mind.

"So the change for me was realising what it does for my mental health and I never look at exercise now with regards to what it’s going to do weight-wise.”

It’s talking this openly and with such ease that has made Giovanna a popular and influential voice for women and motherhood over the last few years.

She’s about to start recording her seventh series of her hugely successful Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast, which currently has over 12 million downloads and earlier this year featured Kate Middleton as a guest.

The book of the same name that preceded it became a No.1 bestseller and Giovanna has amassed a community of 1.9 million (mainly female) Insta followers who love her honesty, relatability and non-judgemental tone.

Later this month, she will form part of our judging panel for the Fabulous Mum of the Year awards.


However, with so much of her career, life and identity wrapped up in being a mum, she relished the opportunity I’m A Celebrity! gave her just to be Gi again.

“In many ways it felt like a break, not just from motherhood but from life and being constantly accessible and having people ask stuff of you.

"There are some mornings where I can’t even look at Tom because I don’t want him to ask anything else of me!

“Buzz is almost seven so I’ve had seven years of constantly being needed, which is amazing and a blessing, but it’s demanding, and there was something so wonderful about having everything stripped away.”

What has been nice is realising that I can relax a bit, I don’t have to be so ‘on it’ all the time

Tom manned the fort admirably back home and Giovanna is quick to praise him for coping so well, although grimaces ever so slightly whenever he’s described as a “hands-on dad”.

Tellingly, by contrast, Mo Farah’s wife Tania wasn’t held up as a beacon of wonder (or, indeed, a “hands-on mum”) for looking after their three young children at home while he was in the castle.

“It’s hard because I know Tom probably does more than most so I don’t want to discredit him by saying he shouldn’t be called a ‘hands-on dad’, but at the same time I feel that should be seen as the norm.

“We try not to have gender stereotypes in the house, but things do sway in certain directions.

"I’m definitely on top of all of the admin stuff and the cleaning and I sometimes feel like I’m at the kitchen sink while he’s having fun with the boys.

"What has been nice is realising that I can relax a bit, I don’t have to be so ‘on it’ all the time.”

Giovanna and Tom met as 13 year olds and were boyfriend and girlfriend by the end of their first day at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.

They continued an on-off relationship throughout their teens, before breaking up at 16 and going their separate ways.

Even then and despite dating other people, there was always something that kept them connected to each other.

“I felt it from day one. There was just something about him, something that kept drawing us in. I had a boyfriend for the 14 months we weren’t together but Tom was always there. We never left each other alone, really.”

This was around the time McFly were taking off and Tom would send Giovanna songs he’d written. She remembers playing them to her then-boyfriend as he raised a suspicious eyebrow.

“He was a bit like: ‘Er, this is interesting.’ But in my head it was innocent.

"When I met the McFly boys for the first time Dougie [Poynter] said: ‘He literally talks about you non-stop’ and I remember being in Namibia [where she spent a month doing charity work] and thinking about Tom more than
I did my boyfriend. But even then I put it down to the fact that he was my first love.”

That was until one evening while en route to her boyfriend’s place, Giovanna had what she describes as “an epiphany”.

She broke up with him that same night, got back with Tom shortly afterwards and they have been together ever since, all the way through McFly’s chart-topping years and Giovanna’s career as a bestselling author – she currently has 11 books under her belt, two of which were co-written with Tom.

“It’s been amazing seeing each other through different points of our careers.


"I remember when McFly had their first performance in the UK, walking down Carnaby Street with them afterwards and there was this huge scream from a bunch of girls.

"I think I realised that was it – the start – and this was going to be how things were going to play out for a little while.”

Was she ever worried about groupies and the long spells apart while the band were on tour?

“Well, we’ve all seen the films and the girls and we know that happens, but you kind of have to go: ‘I’m the one he is coming home to.’ And if he’d wanted to do that, then our relationship wasn’t what I thought it was anyway.

We were never the cool kids and we’re happy with that because being cool is overrated!

"It splinters a relationship if the trust isn’t there, but I feel like we’ve been really good in that way.”

The fact the boys were never big party-goers was also key to ensuring they stayed scandal-free. Giovanna says they always preferred the local pub to a West End club.

“We’re definitely not that rock and roll. As a band, they were never the ones to be out in clubs all the time. We’d do it every now and then, but it was never our thing.

"We were never the cool kids and we’re happy with that because being cool is overrated!

“We always liked being in someone’s house or going to the pub and coming back to our place, putting on some music and drinking wine and dancing in the kitchen.

“Who wants to live your life for other people so they’ll think you’re super-cool? We’ve been very happy being uncool and doing what works for us.

"It wasn’t about being seen pouting in clubs, it was about us just being silly together.”

Life hasn’t always been plain-sailing though. Tom, who is also a bestselling children’s author thanks to The Christmasaurus and the Dinosaur That Pooped series, has been open about his struggles with mental health and Giovanna supported him through some dark times.

Fame so young was difficult and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010.

“It was really tough,” says Giovanna.

“Now I feel like he’s really good, but there was a time where I’d notice the cycles of it. Whether it was recording or touring, there was definitely a connection to what he was doing band-wise.

“All you can do as a partner is be there and listen and try to be as supportive as possible; you don’t want to add extra pressure.


"But since the kids have come along he’s not had any dips. He came off his medication when Buzz was about one.”

Twenty-two years since they first met and after eight years of marriage, they remain the best of friends.

No one can make her laugh like Tom even if “passion” has to take a backseat these days.

“People say that about the passion and it’s like: ‘Give off, I’ve had three kids!’ Best friends and comfort is where I’m at and we’re both really happy with that.

In the chair with Giovanna

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

I always break them. No chocolate? I’m munching it down by the 3rd. No wine? I’m slurping it up by the 4th.

Do you have a 2021 to-do list?

To write the next book so that readers have something to get stuck into by the end of the year. 

Sum up 2020 in three words.

Shocking, amazing, emotional.

Who’s your dream Happy Mum, Happy Baby guest?

I’ll keep putting Michelle Obama’s name in the mix on the off-chance she reads it.  

What’s on your 2021 reading list?

Dawn French’s Because Of You. I love her writing style. 

Which podcasts will you be listening to?

Shagged, Married, Annoyed. Chris and Rosie Ramsey are effortlessly funny.

"We can get side-tracked sometimes by the things we’re told we should and shouldn’t feel and I think if you can come together at the end of the day and say: ‘Sorry for being a bit of a twerp earlier,’ and chat and laugh then that’s the most important thing.”

Do they still fancy each other? “Yeah!” she says immediately. “It’s just incredible seeing Tom doing the things he loves and being so talented.

"I admire him in a different way to when I was 16. I think the attraction deepens, it’s less flimsy. It’s solid.”

She points out that baby number three Max was a happy surprise. “So we definitely still fancy each other!”

It’s just incredible seeing Tom doing the things he loves and being so talented

Giovanna admits she didn’t expect her career to take the twists and turns it has and says she has “no idea what’s next.”

Whatever it is, it promises to be lucrative. She did I’m A Celebrity! purely for the love of the show, but she’s the new darling of ITV and has job offers coming out of her ears.

There are reports speculating she could earn £4million in the next few years.

However, she insists she’s not thinking about any of that for now and there’s always the chaos of everyday home life to bring her back down to earth.

“As soon as I arrived back it was like something out of a movie, they all just wanted to be on me, covering me with kisses and cuddles,” she says.

“But within an hour, there’s a tantrum about something mundane and Tom, having done it for five weeks without me was like: ‘This one’s yours.’

"So it was a case of straight in the deep end with dirty nappies and tantrums! It was like I’d never been away.”

  • Giovanna is hosting The Toddler Club At Home on CBeebies and BBC iPlayer from Monday January 11

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