Katie Price’s secret support for best friend Michelle Heaton as Liberty X star goes into rehab for alcohol issues

KATIE Price has been secretly supporting her best friend Michelle Heaton amid her alcohol issues, The Sun can reveal.

Last night, The Sun told how the 41-year-old Liberty X star had checked into rehab as she fought a booze battle brought on by a string of severe medical problems.

She is said to have struggled with the effects of a hysterectomy in 2012 and a double mastectomy in 2015, which she had to cut her high risk of cancer.

An early menopause before the isolation of lockdown then hit the married mum-of-two hard, and she began rehab treatment on Tuesday.

A source has now told how 42-year-old Katie has been a rock of support for Michelle throughout, with the star checking into rehab herself in the past – most recently in January 2020.

They shared: "Katie's been there every step of the way for Michelle. She's one of Michelle's best friends and is close to her family.

"Katie's been to rehab and reached out to Michelle because she was worried about her."

A rep for Katie confirmed to The Sun: "Katie is one of Michelle's closest friends, naturally she is there to support Michelle.

"Katie asks that Michelle and her family are given time, space, and respect during this time."

Yesterday, an insider told us that Michelle realised she needed help when she "increasingly turned to alcohol as a crutch as she couldn’t cope with the effects of her operations".

They continued: "Michelle was left feeling like she had lost so much of what made her a woman and when she went into early menopause that brought with it a whole other collection of problems.

“She was just about coping when lockdown hit last year, but the effect of being at home and being unable to distract herself, saw her hit rock bottom.”

Michelle was also deeply affected by the shock death of her friend Nikki Grahame this month.

In a tribute post online to the former Big Brother star she said: “I was scared to see you . . . to say anything that may be a trigger to lose you . . . I was a coward and I’m so sorry.”

Michelle is married to businessman Hugh Hanley, and the pair share two children; nine-year-old Faith and seven-year-old AJ.

She previously spoke of how an early menopause — brought on by the hysterectomy — put a strain on her marriage, particularly as she had few female friends who were going through the same changes.

She added: “With us being so young and going through it and with the kids being so young as well, I don’t have that group of women around me who are going through it at the same time. So, it’s really hard.”

Hugh said at the time: “Michelle really struggles to get hold of herself. She’s lost a bit of herself.”

Michelle shot to fame on ITV talent show Popstars in 2001 and went on to join the chart-topping group Liberty X, who split in 2007.

She also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and The Real Full Monty.

A spokeswoman for Michelle confirmed that she had entered a rehab facility, adding: “She has the love and support of her family and friends.”

NHS guidelines on drinking alcohol

According to the NHS, regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health.

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis 
  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

If you're pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

You read more on the NHS website.

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