GMB star admits family agony behind-the-scenes after hiding issue from co-stars

Sean Fletcher’s 14-year-old son had been diagnosed with severe OCD and would go on to spend six months in hospital, after his condition made him too anxious to get out of bed or attend school. The Good Morning Britain presenter, who is 49, was filled with so much anxiety that he could scarcely sleep, but was too fearful to talk about it as he didn’t think the ITV studio was a “safe space”.

It meant that his colleagues Susanna Reid, Kate Garraway and Charlotte Hawkins had no idea how he was feeling, let alone the viewers at home, as he pasted on a bright smile and bubbly persona. “No one wants to switch the telly on and have a miserable news presenter, [so] I was basically putting on a mask,” the “struggling” star revealed.

“You have to go on and smile and pretend everything’s great.” Behind-the-scenes, his son Reuben’s OCD was giving him repetitive thoughts that he couldn’t control, but it took almost a year for him to get seen by the right clinician – and in the meantime, Sean’s mental health was suffering too.

“The OCD was telling him that he shouldn’t [get out of bed or go to school] or something bad would happen,” he revealed. “I probably didn’t feel a television studio was a safe space [to talk about what was happening]. To be fair, I didn’t feel anywhere was a safe space to talk about it, but definitely [not] television.”

He added during the Mirror’s Outdoors In Mind podcast that he felt “embarrassed” due to the stigma that mental health issues can carry in society. The podcast is part of a series in association with GO Outdoors and the mental health charity Mind, which is running a Hats On For Mind campaign to encourage people to open up while enjoying the healing power of the great outdoors.

READ MORE: Michelle Keegan turns heads in satin dress as husband’s divorce quip ‘clarified'[PICTURES]

Sean recalled that at the time, he was in enormous distress as his son’s undiagnosed condition was “tearing my family apart”.

“It was like a little gremlin sitting on the mantelpiece, making arguments start…making things difficult,” the 49-year-old reflected.

“It’s almost like our son was going down the plughole of mental illness…and we were all going down it as well.”

Sean and his wife, Welsh TV producer and director Luned Tonderai, also have one other child, although the pair keep their kids out of the public eye.

Don’t miss…
Nella Rose’s ‘disgusting’ treatment on I’m A Celeb slammed by Loose Women star[DEBATE]
Adult film star Sophie Anderson dies just two weeks after footballer boyfriend[OBITUARY]
Rita Ora wows with spiky display at Fashion Awards – but fans have a problem[PICTURES]

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

Once his son finally received the right diagnosis, and was given a combination of medication and therapy to help him through it, he began to turn a corner.

Now aged 20, he has begun a university course – something his worried dad had never thought would be possible at the height of his illness.

Sean has revealed that he even sees himself as a better TV presenter now that his home life is no longer making him lose sleep.

Hear him talk more about his experiences on the Outdoors in Mind podcast, available here.

Source: Read Full Article