Gemma Collins: I was abused and called names in front of my mum

Gemma Collins has spoken about her experiences of bullying and verbal abuse and said she was once on the receiving end of a tirade from a member of the public in front of her mother.

Speaking to Piers Morgan on his series Life Stories, The Only Way Is Essex star said she was bullied at school and has continued to experience abuse in her adult life.

Crying as she watched a clip of people talking about the abuse she has received, the 40-year-old said: “That’s hard to watch. You don’t forget it but that’s the downside to fame. I’m a lot more comfortable now in my own skin.”

Discussing how some people will even say cruel things to her face, she said: “It was so embarrassing once, I was taking my mum for lunch, a van pulled up and they started abusing me. It wasn’t for me – I felt so hurt that that happened in front of my mum.”

Collins said they called her “fat” and added: “Look at you, stuffing your face.”

“Again, I’m used to it, but I didn’t want my mum to hear it,” she said, revealing that her mother had been “very upset” by the incident.

Collins also discussed her ongoing struggle with her weight, saying: “I think I have always turned to food in times of crisis.

“I mean, any occasion – if I’m happy I eat, if I’m sad I eat. But I think it’s about dealing with your emotions and trying to find a way of dealing with them in a healthy way and not turning to something that can harm you. Because it is like a form of self-harm.”

– Piers Morgan’s Life Stories is on Thursday at 9pm on ITV.