Carol Vorderman faces backlash for comparing her disappearance to missing teen Jay Slater

-Credit: (Image: Carol Vorderman/Instagram)
-Credit: (Image: Carol Vorderman/Instagram)

Carol Vorderman has opened up about a period in her life that echoes the distressing disappearance of teenager Jay Slater, reflecting on a time she herself went missing.

The much-loved television personality recalls battling with grief after the loss of Richard Whiteley, her dear friend and co-star, leading her to impulsively flee from the public scrutiny. Carol spoke candidly about driving off in a quest for solitude amidst the sorrow of her friend's passing.

Yet, when she shared this story, social media users were quick to highlight in the comments that Carol's experience doesn't quite parallel the gravity of the current situation involving Slater.

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During an emotionally charged conversation on LBC, Carol revealed how she secluded herself for an extended duration, shutting out the world as anxiety grew over the whereabouts of the 19 year old British national in Tenerife. With the search operation now in its eighth day, employing the efforts of mountain rescue, local constabulary, the Civil Guard, and firefighters, the mystery deepens with little to no leads unearthed.

In a poignant moment on the radio show, Carol divulged her ordeal, saying: "Richard Whiteley died, and he died quite suddenly. Every day people would talk to me about him, even though I wasn't with him. There was a great love between us, but I couldn't cope, I just couldn't cope.", reports the Mirror.

Recounting a challenging period, she explained that her children were with her ex-husband at the time: "I couldn't cope with being in the public eye, I just didn't know what to do. I just had to disappear. I didn't want anyone I knew around me, I just got in my car and I drove. I eventually found a hotel and I didn't have anything with me."

Conveying the gravity of her situation, she continued, "I had my purse, and just locked myself away then, switch my phone off, all of that. I just stayed in that room, just to get my thoughts together really. So I do understand when people say that that's their only severely option, I really do. There's no shame about it, that's why I'm telling this story for the first time. There's no shame, everyone has those moments, I believe, at some point."

The television world was deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Richard Whiteley at age 61 due to heart complications, following earlier pneumonia treatment at Leeds Royal Infirmary in May 2005. The Pride of Britain host Carol, now aged 63, became a household name after joining Countdown on Channel 4 in 1982, co-presenting with Richard Whiteley from the shows start until his passing in 2005.

Online reactions to Carol's sharing on LBC varied, with one person commenting beneath the clip: "I don't think this is the same unfortunately," while another echoed their sentiment more forcefully, posting: "I don't think this is the same thing Carol! ! ? ? " Other comments were less sympathetic, including: "'How do I make this all about me? '" and "Me, me, me."

Carol had previously shared with Piers Morgan how much she missed him, saying: "He was more than just nice, he was funny, funny, funny. Every time we were in studio together I would cry laughing. He was just a joy to be with and I loved him. Not in that way, just a genuine, pure thing."

The host then posed a question to her: "If you hadn't seen your career explode at the time that it did, do you think would have split up? " To which she responded: "Probably not. I think it did have an influence, yes. Probably we would be together."

Carol continued her stint on Countdown for three more years following his death, but eventually parted ways with Channel 4 after failing to agree on terms for a new contract.