The secret sadness behind Alison Hammond and Josie Gibson’s ‘beautiful’ bond

Fans love This Morning’s Alison Hammond and Josie Gibson’s friendship – but beneath the surface lies hidden trauma...

Alison Hammond and Josie Gibson

by Closer staff |
Updated on

They shot to overnight fame on Big Brother in the noughties and have gone on to carve out successful showbiz careers, becoming household names as two of the nation’s most popular TV stars.

And despite appearing on different seasons of the Channel 4 show, This Morning hosts Josie Gibson, 37, and Alison Hammond, 47, have struck up a close friendship off camera.

Last week, Josie – who credited the fellow single mum for helping her get through “the worst days” during lockdown with daily phone calls – posted a gushing birthday tribute to her pal on Instagram which read, “Thank you for your support your wisdom and infectious happy energy. You @ alisonhammond55 are one of a kind. I’m sending you so much love….Happy Birthday my angel.”

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Alison with son Aiden ©Shutterstock

And insiders say their unbreakable bond has been cemented by their personal battles.

A source tells Closer, “Despite their professional success, Josie and Alison have both endured a huge amount of struggle and pain personally, which, along with their very similar journeys to fame, have forged a deep connection and a beautiful friendship.

“Being single mums has also bonded them – especially being working mums in the spotlight –and it’s been hugely comforting for both of them to have one another by their side to lean on for parenting advice.

“Having similar routes to get to where they are now and enduring similar heartache behind the scenes has given them a true understanding of one another which has made them more like sisters than friends – barely going a day without speaking and often spending hours on the phone at night. It’s odd really to think that these women – who are loved by fans for being hilarious and full of fun – have both had their fair share of sadness to deal with in secret.”

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roxanne pallett emmerdale1 of 31
CREDIT: Channel 5

Roxanne Pallett accused Ryan Thomas of punching her

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Kim loses her rag2 of 31

Kim Woodburn's explosive row

Security entered the house in 2017 to escort Kim Woodburn out, following an explosive row with her housemates.

Biggins gets the boot3 of 31

Christopher Biggins' shocking removal

In 2016, Christopher Biggins was removed from the house after making shocking homophobic and anti-Semitic comments.

What happens in the bathroom doesn't stay in the bathroom...4 of 31

Stephen Bear and Chloe Khan's bathroom saga

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Uh oh Bear...5 of 31

Stephen Bear's love affair

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Gemma Collins' controversial decision

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Mad Megs7 of 31

Megan McKenna's meltdown

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CBB love affair8 of 31

Stephanie and Jeremy's romance

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'David's Dead' confusion

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Dirty laundry humiliation10 of 31

Stephanie Davis' knickers humiliation

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Winston clashes with the house11 of 31

Winston McKenzie's homophobic slur

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Lewis Bloor and Marnie Simpson's shower scene

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Perez Hilton's sexual threats

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Perez vs. Katie14 of 31

Perez Hilton harassing Katie Hopkins

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Alicia Douvall banana-gate

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N-word bombshell16 of 31

Ken Morley's racist slur

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The love triangle drama17 of 31

Lee Ryan, Casey Batchelor and Jasmine Waltz's love triangle

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Leslie and Frenchy come to blows18 of 31

Leslie Jordan's row with Frenchy

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Na Na Neigh!19 of 31

Dappy's raunchy bathroom scene

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CBB villains Speidi20 of 31

Spencer and Heidi Pratt's villainous antics

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Lauren takes a tumble21 of 31

Lauren Harries falling over 24/7

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Karissa was not impressed...22 of 31

Denise Welch's drunken antics

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Frankie doesn't go to Hollywood23 of 31

Frankie Cocozza and Nicola Maclean get steamy in the hot tub

Frankie Cocozza and Nicola Maclean get steamy in the hot tub in 2012.

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Julie Goodyear's banana scene

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Jedward in their pants25 of 31

Jedward get vajazzled

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Alex Reid's beauty regime

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Verne Troyer's drunken collision

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Jade Goody vs. Shilpa Shetty

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George Galloway's cat incident

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Heeeeeeere's Jackie!30 of 31

Jackie Stallone's shock arrival

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Feltz Meltz31 of 31

Vanessa Feltz tragic meltdown

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Since shooting to fame on the third series of Big Brother in 2002 alongside the late Jade Goody, Alison has forged a hugely successful presenting career, as well as continuing her reality TV stints with appearances on I’m A Celebrity!, Strictly and Celebrity MasterChef.

Alison – who’s been candid about her weight battle over the years – has also publicly attempted to tackle her life-long struggle in shows such as Celebrity Fit Club and Sugar Free Farm.

Last year, the bubbly host revealed how the “mortifying” moment Hollywood star Matt Damon had to help her get up from a broken chair during an interview, sparked her decision to get a gastric band in 2007, which she later had reversed due to complications.


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In her book, You’ve Got To Laugh, she also opened up about the childhood trauma she believes triggered her weight battle – revealing how she was forced to clear her plate or suffer the consequences from her dad – a Jamaican drug dealer she once described as “shady”.

She wrote, “My eight-year-old self did a quick calculation. If my dad beat me with his belt, my mum would try to protect me and he would overpower her. ‘I’m going to have to eat this food,’ I thought.”

The Birmingham-born star – who shares 17-year-old son, Aiden, with her cab driver ex, Noureddine – also revealed she’s ready to find a partner.

In 2017, Alison was left heartbroken following a three-year-romance and engagement to single dad Jamie Savage.

josie gibson celebrity big brother
Josie won the show in 2010 ©Shutterstock

And despite a short-lived fling with audio technician, Ben Kusi, following her stint on Celebs Go Dating, Alison is yet to find The One – admitting that she’s “done” with dating apps and “would rather meet someone naturally”.

Meanwhile, Josie’s love life has followed a similarly unlucky course – with the single star recently admitting she is also open to the idea of dating again.

Josie – who split from her ex, Terry, just four months after giving birth to their now three-year-old son, Reggie – said, “It would be nice to be taken out for dinner by someone,” cheekily adding, “But I couldn’t give them anything else.”

And revealing her desire to adopt in December, she told Closer, “I haven’t got enough time at the moment but, if everything slows down, I’ll definitely do it.”

alison hammond
Alison on Big Brother with Kate Lawler in 2002 ©E4

After winning Big Brother in 2010, she struck up a relationship with her Australian housemate, John James Parton, but they split a year later.

And following a three-year romance from 2011 to 2014 with plumber Luke Sanwo – who she got engaged to – their split turned toxic amid a bitter Twitter exchange where Josie claimed he owed her money.

Like Alison, Josie has also been refreshingly honest about her weight battle during her time in the spotlight. In 2014, she famously shed 6st – shrinking from a size 18-20 to a size 8, which saw her undergo surgery to remove excess skin.

And after the weight crept back on – putting on four-and-a-half stone during her pregnancy – Josie vowed to make 2021 her “year of health”, overhauling her lifestyle and slimming down to a size 14.

She has since become a beacon for body positivity on social media – joining Alison with her attempts to spread their inspiring messages.

And insiders say Josie – who stepped in for her friend on This Morning when her dad Clifford passed away in 2020 and last week revealed how she leans on Alison for parenting advice – has also credited her newfound confidence to her BFF.

The source adds, “Josie and Alison really champion each other and they’re each other’s biggest support, which is the fundamental part of their friendship.

“Alison’s confidence and her get-up-and-go attitude has inspired Josie hugely, and she says Alison helped her change her entire mindset and boosted her self-esteem and overall self-worth.

“They’ve both grafted and worked their way up and they both credit their friendship for helping them not only get to where they are today, but for keeping each other inspired and motivated.

“While they may still be looking for their Mr Rights, they insist their relationship is the most important thing to them, whatever course their love lives take.”

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