Rebekah Vardy has bravely opened up about her struggles as a teenager in an open letter to her younger self.
The Dancing on Ice star, 39, has previously shared that she was sexually abused from the age of 13 to 15 by a family friend and that when she told her mum about the abuse she was not believed.
She was then left homeless at 15 and struggled with suicidal thoughts.
And on Wednesday, to mark her 39th birthday on February 17, the wife of footballer Jamie Vardy took to her personal blog to pen a letter in which she detailed her difficult childhood and told what she wishes she told herself in her younger years.
In the letter, that was illustrated with a throwback snap from her teens, she shared that she has “put up big walls” to keep herself “safe” before adding that now she is finding it easier to be “vulnerable” and let people “see the real her.”
The WAG started off by penning: “DEAR BEX, I’m sorry that I kept you hidden away for a very long time. It did it because I wanted to protect you. So much bad stuff happened that hurt you early on. I thought that keeping you away from the world was the only way to keep you safe. I didn’t want anyone else to hurt you, so I only allowed a few people meet you. I put up big walls.
“Something has changed within me over the last year and I’ve started to introduce you to people again. They are getting to know the Bex who isn’t guarded and distrusting. The Bex who see’s the good in people and loves life. The Bex who smiles and laughs, isn’t afraid to let people see the real her and allows herself to be vulnerable.”
She then apologised to her younger self for “hiding” her away, as she added: “I’ve learned that I should’ve let you keep on shining all along and heal from the hurt rather than hiding you away. I’m so sorry I did that to you. I wanted to write this letter to my younger self to apologise and advise you.”
Rebekah then listed off “important things” she would tell her younger self if she could speak to her now.
The heartbreaking list included; “It wasn’t your fault that man hurt you so many times” as well as “don’t take those pills”, “don’t let that man terrify you and coerce you” and “don’t let them hide your overdose so no one at the hospital asks questions.”
Giving an insight into the tough struggles she experienced, Rebekah told her younger self to not put up with abuse and to find “inner strength” and to not “get caught up in that vicious cycle of bad life choices.”
The letter continued: “There will come a point in your life when you make a brave decision to walk away from the bad life choices that you made. Every poor or destructive choice you made in your teens and twenties sprung from what that adult did to you.
“You were repeatedly hurt and then thrown out on the street at 15 like unwanted property. You were a child. You weren’t to blame. You unravelled but you can stop unravelling. Please stop punishing yourself and allow yourself to be happy.”
She then went on to share how finding love with Jamie changed her life and allowed her to become “comfortable” in herself as well the sportsman making her feel “safe, happy, loved and secure.”
Rebekah wrote: “You won’t believe me now, but I swear to you that a man who you aren’t scared of and who doesn’t treat you badly will love you one day.
“He will become your husband and he will treat you in a way that you aren’t used to being treated – with respect and kindness. You will feel safe, happy loved and secure. You wont want to run away from him, you’ll want to spend as much time with him as much as you can. You’ll become comfortable in your own skin and you can open up to him. He will be your anchor and calm you. You’ll have beautiful children together and I promise you Bex that you will live happily ever after.”
The glamour model ended the letter: “Love, Bex xx PS: Visit the ice rink with Dad more often, as mad as it sounds, you might have to skate in front of Torvill & Dean one day!!”
Rebekah married the love of her life Jamie in 2016 at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, in front of famous guests including One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson and Kasabian guitarist – and Leicester City fan – Sergio Pizzorno.
In December 2019 they welcomed new addition Olivia and Rebekah is mum to two more children with Jamie, Sofia, four, and Finley, two.
She also has a daughter Meghan, 13, and a son Taylor, nine, from a previous relationship.
Jamie is also dad to one more child, a daughter named Ella, with his ex-girlfriend.