Gemma Oaten reveals 'horrendous' mental health history

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Gemma Oaten

Gemma Oaten

Gemma Oaten has spoken about her "horrendous" experience in a mental health facility as a youngster when she was treated for anorexia.

Gemma Oaten had a "horrendous" time while being treated for an eating disorder at an adolescent psychiatric unit.

The 'Emmerdale' actress suffered from severe anorexia as a youngster and has recalled the frightening experiences she had in hospital while receiving treatment.

She said: "The memories of my time in hospital were very bleak and full of despair. I found myself in quite scary situations. I had things thrown at my head, I'd have people discussing in detail how they were abused, people cutting themselves in front of me. It was horrendous.

"I wasn't showing signs of psychosis, I was just a young girl suffering from an illness and, yes, it was a mental health illness but it is very different to somebody who is schizophrenic or who cuts herself.

"It all went wrong because it focused on getting the calories down me and not dealing with the reason I was struggling with an eating disorder.

"In the end my parents made the decision to take me out of there when they found out what was going on."

However, the TV star, now 30, has since recovered from the illness and has started dating actor Andy Barnes who wooed her by saying he'd appeared in three episodes of the Yorkshire-based soap, not realising she had been on the soap for three years.

She explained: "We first met on a train. He came and he sat next to me even though there were loads of other seats on the carriage. He said he'd picked me over the bald man.

"It was funny. He was trying to impress me with his three episodes but he didn't know what job I did. His poor face completely dropped when I said. He asked, 'How many episodes?' and I was like, 'Nearly three years'."

And although she is not yet feeling ready to have children, the star revealed she is starting to feel broody.

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "I would love nothing more than to have kids. I am very maternal. But not just yet, I've been playing a lot of catch-up. I've just met a wonderful man - it's my time at the minute and our time. My sister had her third kid at 38 so I know there is lots of time."

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