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Fern Britton on ‘tough years’ after split as she couldn’t face unpacking

Fern Britton has opened up about the painful few years in which her marriage broke down to TV chef Phil Vickery.

The TV presenter says she got through it with the help of her two cats, dog and friends.

And Fern, 63, insisted: “There is life afterwards.”

She also revealed she hated working on BBC Breakfast Time due to some “difficult” people.

Fern, who split with Phil after 20 years’ marriage in January 2020, said: “I’ve had a bad two or three years.

“Both of my parents died, my beloved cat died and, unfortunately, my marriage died. It was a bit of a tough time but we are getting through. And it is all OK.”

Her late father was The Day of The Jackal actor Tony Britton.

Fern split with Phil after 20 years’ marriage in January 2020

Her close friends cheered her up and helped her unpack when she moved to Cornwall, sorting out all the boxes left over after her marriage split.

She said: “I’ve got a couple of very good girlfriends and they just make me laugh all the time.

“I could not face unpacking it all. They came round a while ago to help me clear my garage. Now that’s a friend isn’t it?”

Fern met Vickery while hosting Ready Steady Cook in 1999 and they married the following year, having daughter Winnie in 2001.

They also appeared regularly on ITV’s This Morning, which Fern fronted for a decade from 1999 and Phil joined as chef in 2006.

She is also mum to twins Harry and Jack, and daughter Grace from her first marriage to TV executive Clive Jones. They married in 1988 but separated 10 years later.

Fern also revealed she used to cry before BBC Breakfast Time, which she presented in the 1980s.

Fern Britton
Fern with her father Tony

Fern Britton
Fern couldn’t face unpacking

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She said: “I was terrified for the whole 18 months that I did that show.

“I was excited but I was also terrified as there were one or two people there who made life a bit difficult.

“I remember sitting in the bath and crying before I went to work. But it was a very good grounding in building resilience.”

She made headlines in 2008 when she lost 5st with a gastric band – not by healthy eating as had been implied. Fern has spoken openly about her mental health issues and depression in the past.

She turns 64 this week but says she is not fazed by it.

“I just think ‘Where has that gone?’ I am stepping into another big chapter of life.”

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