Christine McGuinness tells of difficult upbringing: ‘We were dragged up’

Today she lives an Instagram-friendly life many would envy, sharing a large comfortable home with her three beautiful children and Top Gear presenter husband Paddy McGuinness.

But, in Christine McGuinness's new autobiography A Beautiful Nightmare she details for the first time just how tough her poverty-ridden childhood truly was.

As a child in Halewood, Merseyside Christine, now 33, battled anorexia and social anxiety while dealing with bullying and sexual abuse – making the first few chapters of the book a really heartbreaking read.

The Full Monty star began by revealing how as a child, her family were on the poverty line, living in a council flat with barely enough money for electricity and to have the heating on.

"My childhood was a difficult one – no two ways about it," Christine told her readers.

"My mum Joanne and I laugh now and say my siblings and I were dragged up. But I wouldn’t change it – if you haven’t got anything, you don’t miss it."

Things got so bad at one point, the mum-of-three felt forced to attempt to steal a pair of shoes from the local supermarket. After getting caught the police were called, but feeling sorry for her, the shop assistant let her keep the shoes when she saw Christine's "battered loafers" and how much the family were struggling to make ends meet.

As well as having little in the way of materialistic terms, Christine struggled with confidence issues during her school years and battled an eating disorder which resulted in the young girl often skipping meals.

She detailed in her book that she rarely ate during her time in High School.

The 33 year old explained that while she wasn't concerned about body image, her avoidance of eating stemmed from her fussiness with food.

"I had anorexia for years and if I’m being completely honest, it still can be a problem in my life now, but I’m getting better. Although I don’t think it’s something you ever fully get over," she penned.

"I always felt like I didn’t fit in, so in the classroom it was OK. But when you went to the dining hall, that was a social experience I just couldn’t deal with. Even queuing up for the food used to give me major anxiety. I didn’t know where to sit or who to sit with."

Christine's childhood trauma was so bad that she still finds it hard to sleep at night.

"Like for a lot of people who have lifelong conditions, my constant battle to get more than an hour’s shut-eye comes from my turbulent childhood full of trauma," she explained.

"And my reason for a life of sobriety is due in part to my up bringing and situations I found myself in as a teenager. To say I had a rough ride during my adolescence is an understatement."

Christine was sadly bullied by other girls at her school, who didn't like the fact that she was friends with boys. Her career in modelling, meant to give her a confidence boost, just added to the girls' reasons to torment her.

Christine ended up spiralling down a path of binge drinking and house parties.

The now sober star has also struggled with a rape ordeal that she wrongly blamed herself for.

Speaking of the incident, she said: "Not many people know this, but when I was 13, I was raped. It happened at a house party, and as usual I’d been drinking a lot. Anyway, I took myself upstairs in a drunken stupor and got into bed. Not long after climbing under the covers while intoxicated, a boy came in and had sex with me, against my will."

Christine added that she remembered saying no and tried to push him off but was so drunk she "couldn't physically move him."

"After that I blamed myself massively," she said. "I know as an adult it wasn’t my fault, but I still think if I wasn’t drunk it wouldn’t have happened. But I’m OK, thank God. It’s why I’m really protective of my children, the girls especially."

Christine, who shares three children with Paddy, twins, Penelope and Leo, eight, and five year old Felicity, says she tries to take "strength out of any kind of trauma."

"But there was no denying it was awful," she said. "My virginity was taken, and I didn’t get to have that special moment with my childhood sweetheart."

And in a truly tragic tale the horrific rape wasn't the first time she had been sexually abused.

From the age of nine to 13, she was sexually abused by someone, who she revealed would make her watch sexual videos as well as awful clips of people being murdered.

"He’d always talk about sex and masturbating and would take me to his house to make me watch these disturbing videos. I never understood what he got out of forcing me to view this extreme violence," she said.

And despite everything she's been through, Christine explained she feels as though "nothing else that can happen" will knock her back down.

"I’m just trying to enjoy the second part of my life as best I can," she wrote.

"When you think things can’t get any worse, some people will focus on the worst, but you can’t live in the past. Before now, I constantly questioned who I am, what I’m doing and what my purpose is. But now everything has just fallen into place."

Preorder Christine McGuinness: A Beautiful Nightmare (RRP £20, out 25 Nov) and save £5 with the offer code XA9. Order online at

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