The X Factor’s Katie Waissel: ‘I wrote a will – I was scared I was going to die’

Katie opens up about falling ill with suspected COVID-19, coping as a single mum during the pandemic, and her plans for another baby

Katie Waissel

by Annabelle Lee |
Updated on

She’s a single mum to her 23-month-old son, Hudson, and Katie Waissel admits she was so frightened when they both fell ill with suspected COVID-19 in March that she wrote a will. The X Factor star – who moved back to the UK from America in 2018, after splitting from the father of her son – ended up in hospital and says she was scared for their lives.

“It was such a frightening experience,” she explains. “Hudson was really ill – his breathing had shallowed and his temperature was 40º, so I called an ambulance. At the same time, I was feeling really unwell – I had a continuous cough and couldn’t catch my breath. When it’s just Hudson and me, it makes you think, ‘What if I die? What’s going to happen to Hudson?’ It was overwhelming and scary.”

At this point, tests weren’t readily available, so after being monitored, Katie and Hudson were sent home to isolate, just as the rest of the country went into lockdown. But she admits that in the midst of the ordeal, the experience made her face her own mortality.

“I had to stay strong during the day, but I was a mess when Hudson was in bed at night,” she says. “I felt scared and vulnerable being on my own, and we were ill for about a month.”

Katie Waissel
Katie and her son Hudson ©Getty

And her decision to write a will was the toughest part. “I was bawling my eyes out writing it – my heart was in pieces,” Katie admits. “I wanted to make sure Hudson was in the best hands if anything were to happen to me. My biggest fear is not being here for him.”

Once she’d recovered, Katie says she found much of lockdown tough as a single mum, and admits to struggling seeing Hudson’s father, fitness trainer Andy Speer, enjoying himself on social media in America.

“There have been times where I’ve wanted to throw my phone out of the window, especially on the days I was finding it hard,” she says.

“I watched him doing Instagram workouts with his partner, while I was in and out of hospitals with our son, afraid I was going to die. It took a few conversations between him and me, but we have a good relationship now and he has been here emotionally for us. When I was in hospital with Hudson, I rang Andy and said, ‘I’m scared, I need you to stay on the line so I don’t feel alone’. Both Andy and I have worked really hard to get to this point.”

The 34 year old reveals that the one thing that’s helped her mental health during the pandemic has been making time for fitness.

Check out: The X Factor 'joke' acts - who's laughing now?


The X Factor joke acts - where are they now? - slider

X Factor joke acts1 of 20

Wagner then

You need to cast your mind back to 2010 to remember Wagner, the Brazilian pocket rocket who had us in stitches with his theatrical performances, while simultaneously covering our ears to block out the noise he was making with his mouth.

X Factor joke acts2 of 20
CREDIT: Instagram

Wagner now

Wagner's comic appeal saw him finish sixth in the seventh series – a placing which irked top judge Simon no end. In 2012 he caused controversy when he had a baby with his then 20-year-old girlfriend Lydia – who's 36 years his junior.

X Factor joke acts3 of 20

Stevi Ritchie then

Resident joke act in 2014 was Stevi (he dropped the 'e' - pure edge) Ritchie, a fan of big songs and big vocals that verged on shouting a lot of the time. He went on to have a relationship with fellow 2014 contestant, Chloe Jasmine but definitely not for publicity or anything like that.

X Factor joke acts4 of 20
CREDIT: Instagram

Stevi Ritchie now

Stevi has been busy showing off his killer new bod on Instagram after dropping over three stone in just eight weeks with a grueling diet and exercise regime. Sadly, his romance with Chloe wasn't to last, but he did pop up in a selfie of hers on Insta earlier this year.

X Factor joke acts5 of 20

Diva Fever then

Also from series seven and one of the only novelty acts to be mentored by Simon Cowell, Diva Fever were a camp-as-they-come party act made up of Craig and Josef. They made it to week two of the live shows before they were booted off.

X Factor joke acts6 of 20
CREDIT: Facebook

Diva Fever now

Though it looks as though Diva Fever have officially disbanded, we're pleased to report that Josef and Craig are still pals and were out in force this year to celebrate Pride with their squad.

X Factor joke acts7 of 20

Johnny Robinson then

Series eight saw one of our all time FAVOURITE contestants take to the stage and blow away the judges - this time with Gary Barlow in the top spot – with his mega voice. Johnny Robinson was mentored by Louis Walsh in his over 25s category, and lasted until week five in the live shows.

X Factor joke acts8 of 20
CREDIT: Johnny Robinson

Johnny Robinson now

Prior to his stint on The X Factor, Johnny performed as his drag alter ego, Sarah Lee, and in 2016 he reprised the role and released two singles, Eaten Alive and Deliver Me. Last year he gave an interview for The Sun's Back To Reality series, where he said he'd "rather bake a quiche" than find love.

X Factor joke acts9 of 20

Chico then

The original joke act, Chico was mentored by Sharon Osbourne way back in 2005 for the second series of The X Factor, which was won by Shane Ward and was the first series anyone really paid attention to, anyway. His performances were crazy high energy, and one time he poured a glass of water over himself mid song.

X Factor joke acts10 of 20
CREDIT: Twitter

Chico now

Chico went onto have some success with his single, It's Chico Time (erotic, hypnotic, exotic, that's for sure) and since then has launched his own fitness program and classes, Block 1. Last year he suffered a stroke following a blood clot on the brain, but quickly made a full recovery.

X Factor joke acts11 of 20

Jedward then

Another of Louis Walsh's bright ideas, Jedward were bound to win over the X Factor mainstay hailing from his native Ireland. They delivered consistently cringe-worthy productions with backing vocals – but still made it to week seven, because, as we've seen – the public love a novelty act.*sarcasm

X Factor joke acts12 of 20

Jedward now

This photo is from 2017, but let's be honest, Jedward haven't changed a bit, leading us to suspect they are in fact alien bots from the future sent to Earth for reasons so evil we couldn't possibly comprehend them. So far they're not doing a bad job of that, so we'll leave it there.

X Factor joke acts13 of 20

2Shoes then

In 2011, Essex- based duo 2Shoes won over Tulisa and took their place in the groups for series eight - but were pipped to the post by another girl group now known as Little Mix. Their infectious girly pop - and fondness of referring to each other as 'Shoe' – was cute, but got old quickly and they were eliminated in week one.

X Factor joke acts14 of 20
CREDIT: 2Shoes

2Shoes now

SHUT UP! Far from having their confidence knocked from their time on X Factor, Charley and Lucy have continued to perform as 2Shoes, and earlier this year released a fab cover of Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next on YouTube. Meanwhile, Charley is now a mum of two after announcing her first pregnancy during the live show rehearsals.

X Factor joke acts15 of 20

Rylan Clark then

Rylan had already starred on Signed By Katie Price when he auditioned for X Factor with long, platinum blonde hair and a bizarre dance version of Des 'Ree's Kissing You in 2012. But he really cemented his future sleb status with his LEGENDARY breakdown at Nicole Scherzinger's house, after she told him he was going through to the live shows.

X Factor joke acts16 of 20

Rylan Clark-Neal now

It can be easy to forget about Rylan's humble beginnings, what with being a bona fide national treasure these days. He's worked on everything from Big Brother's Bit on the Side to the Eurovision spin off, You Decide. He's got a regular slot onThis Morning, stole the show on Celebrity Gogglebox alongside his mum Sandra and is currently filling the iconic shoes of Dale Winton in the reboot of Supermarket Sweep. In his personal life, he married policeman and Big Brother 14 housemate Dan Neal. Oh also, we love him.

X Factor joke acts17 of 20

Same Difference then

Same Difference was made up of brother and sister Sean and Sarah Smith, and their brand of pop-meets-musical-theatre saw them sail through to third place under the mentorship of Simon Cowell – without falling into the bottom two ONCE during the live shows.

X Factor joke acts18 of 20
CREDIT: Twitter

Same Difference now

Sean is still singing, most recently performing at the Weston-Super-Mare Pride event in August 2019, and he's still got Same Difference in his Twitter bio so he's clearly not even embarrassed about it. Meanwhile little sis Sarah has been popping out kids, and is now mum to two boys, Bertie and Barney. Cute.

X Factor joke acts19 of 20

Honey G then

It's unclear whether Honey G - real name Anna Georgette Gilford – was a parody character or just one of the most dedicated acts in X Factor history, but either way, the public certainly warmed to her polite rap persona and she placed fifth in 2016 under Sharon Osbourne, who returned to the show for that series.

X Factor joke acts20 of 20
CREDIT: Channel 5

Honey G now

Honey did actually sign to SyCo, Simon Cowell's record label, before Christmas of that year but was dropped after just four months when her single charted at no. 149 in the UK charts – one of the lowest performing X Factor singles of all time. In 2017, she went on to star on Channel 5 make-under series 100% Hotter (dubbed "the most judgemental show on TV" by critics) where she was stripped of her hat and sunglasses.

“At the beginning of lockdown, I found it hard not having time to myself, but then I changed my mindset and started making time to exercise. While Hudson slept, I’d do a workout, or if he refused his nap, I’d pop him in the lightweight buggy and go for a run. It made me feel so much better.”

Now Katie’s thoughts have turned to the future, and she says she’d like to start dating. The singer has been married twice – to model Brad Alphonso in 2012 and comedian Brian Moote in 2015. With both relationships ending in divorce, Katie then met Hudson’s father Andy, from whom she split shortly after giving birth.

“I’m ready to meet someone now!” she says.

“I’d like to be a in a relationship, but marriage is neither here nor there for me – I’ve done it so many times! Marriage doesn’t make for a happy relationship; that’s something I’ve learned. It’s just a case of finding the right person now. I’m on Hinge (a dating app) –it’s fun to have a look and see what’s out there, but I’m so tired I barely have time to message my friends these days.”

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Watch: The X Factor: Celebrity's Megan McKenna reveals why she quit reality TV

But Katie isn’t relying on meeting a new man in order to have another baby, and says she would consider artificial insemination with her ex, Andy, in order to have a full sibling for Hudson.

“I would love to have another baby, but I would want them to be Hudson’s full DNA,” she explains.

“Andy and I have joked about it many times and I’ve said to ‘just FedEx it over’! If I wasn’t ready to meet anybody but I wanted to have another baby, then potentially it’s something I would do. Why not? I’d have another baby with brilliant DNA!”

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