Caroline Flack was so depressed after Strictly win she felt like a piece of string that could snap at any time

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CAROLINE Flack, a woman who always wore her heart firmly on her sleeve, often found that her career highs coincided with crushing personal lows.

The ambitious star, who worked her way up to presenting The X Factor was open about her struggles and unapologetic about living them out in the public eye.

Caroline Flack sank into a year-long depression only a day after winning Strictly Come Dancing with Pasha Kovalev

Caroline sank into a year-long depression only a day after winning Strictly Come Dancing with Pasha Kovalev

Caroline said she ‘couldn’t get up’ after the win

Only a day after winning Strictly Come Dancing, the biggest show on telly she said, she sank into a year-long depression.

Just last March, the bubbly yet fragile host wondered if shed been put on Earth to show other women that life is full of ups and down.

She wrote: Sometimes youre going to make mistakes, sometimes youre going to fall in love with the wrong person, sometimes youre going to get sacked, sometimes youre just going to really fancy someone. And do you know what? Thats all right.

She grew up in Norfolk with parents Ian and Christine, her twin sister Jody, from who she was inseparable, sister Liz and brother Paul.

Caroline Flack often found that her career highs coincided with personal lows
Caroline often found that her career highs coincided with personal lows

At 16 Caroline, who idolised Kylie Minogue, went to stage school in Cambridge on her own and three years later headed to London seeking stardom, landing a part in 2001 film Is Harry On The Boat? in which she snogged Danny Dyer.

She decided she wanted to be a TV host and took on factory work to earn a crust before finding jobs fronting shows including CBBCs TMi and a revived version of Nineties hit Gladiators with Ian Wright.

She started dating drummer Dave Danger who played with The Holloways. At three years, it was her longest relationship but she did not adjust well to the long periods they spent apart due to work.

In her 2015 book, Storm In A C Cup, she wrote: I didnt know how to be alone day after day. I was really struggling emotionally.

The star began hosting Love Island in 2015

The star began hosting Love Island in 2015

Dave left her in 2009 after a series of rows and Caroline was devastated. She said he was that one big defining break-up.

In a pattern to be often repeated, her career took off while her personal life was in tatters.

That year, at 29, she got her big break presenting on ITVs Im A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here Now! with Joe Swash.

At around the time she was introduced to Prince Harry but their romance came to nothing.

Caroline was open about her struggles and unapologetic about living them out in the public eye

Caroline was open about her struggles and unapologetic about living them out in the public eye

Caroline wrote: Once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.

She said at the time that the best distraction when things were going wrong in her emotional life was live TV, as nothing intrudes when you are in front of the camera.

Her love life was back in the headlines in 2011 when she started dating One Directions Harry Styles, who was then 17. She was 31.

She brushed off criticism, saying: In the entertainment industry nobody asks what age you are.

The fling fizzled out and later that year she got the job hosting The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Olly Murs.

Caroline returned for two series before Sarah-Jane Crawford replaced her.

Like a true pro, she bounced back by competing on Strictly in 2014.

By then she was dating music manager Jack Street but he ended their 18-month relationship when she was on the show after he grew close to Glee actress Dianna Agron.

Carolines romance with Prince Harry came to nothing

Caroline’s ‘romance’ with Prince Harry came to nothing

Gutted Caroline fluffed her steps in the semis with professional Pasha Kovalev. She wrote: He knew the reason. My private life was in shreds.

Despite the setback, Caroline won. However, she woke depressed the next day.

She said: I couldnt get up and just couldnt pick myself up at all that next year.

“I felt ridiculous, being so sad when Id just won the biggest show on telly.

Caroline dated One Directions Harry Styles in 2011

Caroline dated One Direction’s Harry Styles in 2011

However, I felt like I was being held together by a piece of string which could snap at any time.

Despite her troubles, Carolines star status was secured when Simon Cowell asked her to present The X Factor with Olly Murs in 2015.

And yet she cried after the first live Sunday night when trolls criticised her look, legs and laugh.

She had a panic attack in her dressing-room and was put on anti-depressants, ditching them later as they made her feel numb.

She said: Feeling something was better than feeling nothing at all.

She faced a low point when Bafta host Graham Norton joked about her getting sacking from The X Factor in front of six million viewers. As usual, she bounced back.

She said: I know how the game works. I put myself out there and cant moan. Ive a really good job and a really good life.

Caroline dusted herself off and returned to Love Island, which she began hosting in 2015. When it won a Bafta in 2018, she collected.

Caroline began hosting The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Olly Murs in 2011

Caroline began hosting The X Factor spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Olly Murs in 2011

Success was accompanied by another rocking relationship, this time to former The Apprentice star Andrew Brady.

They got engaged after a whirlwind romance but she dumped him after arguments.

She said of the split: I coped the way I always do I cried in private and did my grieving behind closed doors.

“Then I put on my make-up, painted a smile on my face and kept my head up high.

Caroline reckoned boyfriend Lewis Burton was the one
Caroline reckoned boyfriend Lewis Burton was ‘The One’

Ever the romantic, Caroline said: I absolutely believe in love and theres no better feeling than when youre falling for someone.

She had that high again with Lewis Burton who moved into her North London home where she allegedly assaulted him. She reckoned he was the one.

Tragically, she never got her happy ever after.

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