Gail Porter: I was homeless and slept on a bench
TELEVISION star Gail Porter has revealed she slept on a park bench for two nights after running out of money for a place to stay.
The 43-year-old ex-model, from Edinburgh, said she is so penniless she survives on a diet of toast and marmite so she can feed her teenage daughter when she comes to stay.
The mum-of-one, who found fame hosting Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast, was declared bankrupt last week at London’s High Court. The star, who is well known for her presenting roles on Top of the Pops and Fully Booked in the Nineties, blames her stress-related alopecia for the downturn in work.
Yesterday, she revealed she was homeless for a year and during that time slept rough.
She is now struggling to pay rent on her one-bedroom flat.
Gail said: “My money problems just snowballed and I’ve had no where to turn. No one knew.
“I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I was homeless. I had nowhere to go.
“I spent a couple of nights outdoors in London.
“I was on a bench on Hampstead Heath with a rug and rucksack.
“It was cold and terrifying.”
She was formerly seen on the cover of FHM and Loaded lad mags, and in 1999, a naked image of her was famously projected onto the Houses of Parliament.
In 2005, Gail divorced from her husband Dan Hipgrave, who is the father of her 14 year-old daughter, Honey. The same year she lost her blonde hair to alopecia.
She said: “Losing my hair was a big thing. I was ok with it and people around me would say it was fine but people stopped booking me for TV work.
“The jobs that were coming so freely in the nineties weren’t there for me anymore.
“By then I was renting a place and my savings started to dribble away.” She added: “I get my daughter Honey three days a week and she is my priority.
“I save most of my £200 so I can buy food for her. I won’t even eat some days to save money.
“Mainly I eat marmite on toast as it’s cheap.
“As a treat, I’ll have cod fillets, which I can get for £1.99 for six from Iceland and some tomatoes.
“My dad had to help me with my rent last month. I’m living week to week.”
Gail described being bankrupt as “embarrassing” but said she would deal with it.
She added: “I haven’t been clothes shopping for years.
“I’m still wearing the stuff I had a decade ago.
“I want to work so much I’m writing an autobiography. I have to stay positive.”