I was one of the biggest nineties pinups but was left homeless and an addict before turning life around

NINETIES pin up Gail Porter has laid bare her past struggles with addiction and homelessness after turning her life around.

The Nineties telly favourite presented hit shows such as Top Of The Pops and Fully Booked as well as stripping off for publications including FHM.

Gail Porter has candidly opened up on her addiction battles and homelessness in a new podcast


Gail Porter has candidly opened up on her addiction battles and homelessness in a new podcastCredit: Getty
The Scot found fame as a Nineties telly star on shows including Top Of The Pops


The Scot found fame as a Nineties telly star on shows including Top Of The PopsCredit: Rex
She also posed for the lads mags and had her naked image beamed onto Westminster


She also posed for the lads mags and had her naked image beamed onto WestminsterCredit: PA:Press Association
Gail, now 53, admitted she had been 'very depressed' in her career and suffered with booze and food addictions


Gail, now 53, admitted she had been ‘very depressed’ in her career and suffered with booze and food addictionsCredit: Oliver Dixon – The Sun

Gail, 53, spoke candidly on The Cabin Chiang Mai Recovery podcast about her turn in fortune, homelessness and her variety of addictions.

Gail, who was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2011, said she had suffered with four types of addiction in her lifetime and admitted: “I was very depressed.”

Addressing her anorexia battle she said: “And I was tiny. It started at the age of 16 and I was self-harming, then it was food, so I would stop eating.

“Then I would over eat, then I would stop eating again.

“Then when it came to alcohol, because I was so tiny, it didn’t even take a lot.

“I could be p***ed out of my mind after about two or three glasses of wine.

“So I went into rehab and it wasn’t great, there was nice people there but they didn’t do anything to help me.”

She told how when she went to the luxury Cabin Chiang Mai Recovery facility in Thailand, tailored to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, she “didn’t even want to come home.”

The former Big Breakfast frontwoman admitted she kept a diary about her first rehab experiences in a UK facility, but then set fire to it.

She said: “My mental health went down the toilet.”

Gail Porter models her new wig for the first time in our exclusive photoshoot

Earlier in the episode, she confessed she had been “sectioned for about 14 or 15 days” and the experience was “more fun than Big Brother.”

Gail added: “I can share my experience with those who are lost or who are frightened.”

What is alopecia and what causes it?

About two per cent of the population will experience alopecia at some point in their lifetime, with around one in every 4,000 developing the condition each year. 

It can start at any age but is most common in early adulthood and can lead to a lack of all hair including eyelashes and eyebrows, nasal hair and public hair. 

Alopecia areata causes patches of baldness about the size of a large coin.

“Alopecia” is the medical term for hair loss and “areata” means that it occurs in small, random areas. There are various classifications, including:

  • Alopecia areata totalis: Total hair loss on the scalp
  • Alopecia areata universalis: Total hair loss on your scalp and all body hair

The causes of alopecia areata are not fully understood but the loss of hair is because of inflammation around the hair follicles. 

The cause of the inflammation is unknown but it is believed that the immune system, which normally protects the body from infections and other diseases, misfires and attacks the hair follicles.

Therefore, it is understood to be an autoimmune condition, says Alopecia UK.

Genetics may be behind the condition, but there are other things thought to trigger it, including a virus, iron deficiency or stress. Studies are not conclusive.

For women, sometimes birth can trigger postpartum alopecia.

In most cases of alopecia areata, hair will grow back in a few months to a year. At first, hair may grow back fine and white, but over time it should thicken and regain its normal colour.

There is no cure for the condition, only treatments that are not guaranteed to work.

People with alopecia may need to take extra precautions, including protecting their skin and eyes when outside and preventing stress.

The Wright Stuff panelist also told the podcast of seeing her scars from self-harming as a sign she “survived” as well as feeling “useless” when her depression battle was at its worst.

At the time same, she had her phone stolen and a stalker who was vowing to kill her.

Signs and symptoms of anorexia

  • if you’re under 18, your weight and height being lower than expected for your age
  • if you’re an adult, having an unusually low body mass index
  • missing meals, eating very little or avoiding eating any foods you see as fattening
  • believing you are fat when you are a healthy weight or underweight
  • taking medication to reduce your hunger (appetite suppressants)
  • your periods stopping (in women who have not reached menopause) or not starting (in younger women and girls)
  • physical problems, such as feeling dizzy, dry skin and hair loss


Back in 2017, the Scot exclusively told The Sun how she was left homeless for a year – and lived off Marmite on toast.

She was declared “bankrupt” during that year and lived off £200 a month – and credited being left penniless to her alopecia battle.

She has previously opened up about how her television work took a hit after refusing to wear a wig following her diagnosis.

Gail hit rock bottom and she recently told The Sun of her homelessness ordeal and said: “I couldn’t afford the rent so I ended up homeless for almost a year.

“I stored my belongings at a friend’s house and moved from spare bedrooms to sofas.

“I didn’t tell any of my friends that I didn’t actually have a place of my own.”

The mum of one has always been candid in sharing her health struggles.

She previously confessed how an insensitive comment from a doctor made her anorexia worse.

Meanwhile, she has admitted she was treated for “extreme sexual behaviour” after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.


In the 1990s Gail was a lads’ mag favourite and graced the covers of publications including of Loaded and FHM.

In 1999, she posed for a magazine stunt in which a 100ft-tall image of her naked body was projected on to the Houses of Parliament.

In 2015, Gail agreed to appear on Celebrity Big Brother in an attempt to solve her cash woes.

Yet she has now turned a corner and claimed she is “no longer ashamed” of her body following a life-changing breast reduction.

Now back on track, earlier this year we reported how she “loved being blonde again” after donning a wig for the very first time.

Gail was sectioned back in 2011


Gail was sectioned back in 2011Credit: PA:Press Association
She was declared bankrupt in 2017


She was declared bankrupt in 2017Credit: BBC Pictures
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