Kerry Katona’s health shock! Fears her booze and drugs past is about to ruin her future

As mum-of-five Kerry Katona reveals she has been diagnosed with several medical issues, friends say she is anxious her partying past will catch up with her

kerry katona

by Daisy McLure |
Updated on

After taking pain killers for an unknown health condition for the past eight years – which caused severe back pain and saw her admitted to hospital – Kerry Katona last week broke down in tears after receiving a diagnosis.

Posting on Instagram, Kerry, 40, told her fans she had been for a full medical evaluation and was “finally” diagnosed with arthritis in her shoulders and a protruding disc in her back, as well as cysts on her liver and ovaries – which can be treated with medication or an operation.

The mum of five – who was hospitalised in 2019 with crippling pain – said, “I cried [happy tears]. Because even though nobody wants anything to be wrong with their back, I was so happy because this can be fixed. After all these years of being on all this pain medication, you start thinking it’s in your head.”

kerry katona wedding dress
Kerry plans to get married in Vegas ©TLC

And a source tells Closer that her relief is also partly due to her secret fears she was suffering from a more serious condition – and is scared of her past with alcohol and drugs coming back to haunt her.

The source says, “Kerry was terrified of going for a medical examination because she has been in pain for a while now and, in the back of her mind, she thought doctors might find something awful.

“So, in a sense, although her arthritis and back pain are painful and it was a shock, she is relieved that she finally has an answer to her problems and that it’s not as bad as she built up in her head.

“However, she still has a constant fear that the amount of booze and drugs she’s taken in the past, as well as smoking, has done lasting damage to her body and is about to ruin her future – it’s a daily worry for her.

“She has finally found her happy-ever-after with Ryan and wants to spend the rest of her life with him watching her kids grow – she is terrified that is going to be cruelly snatched away from her because of her past lifestyle.”

Kerry got engaged to personal trainer Ryan Mahoney, 32, in August last year, after two years of dating, calling him The One following three failed marriages.

While they have no date set for their wedding, the pair plan to elope with her kids – daughters Molly, 20, and Lilly-Sue, 18, by first-husband Brian McFadden; Heidi, 14, and Max, 13, by second husband Mark Croft; and Dylan-Jorge, seven, by her third husband, the late George Kay – to Las Vegas once travel restrictions allow.

However, at the beginning of this year, Kerry fell seriously ill with Covid and exclusively told Closer she believed she was dying, and had been saved after quitting her 25-year smoking habit a year before.

Kerry, who suffers with bipolar disorder, feared the worst – admitting she was afraid she might die.

She said, “I’m a proper worrier and I’ve got really bad anxiety. Death is my biggest fear. I’ve been through absolutely everything and come out the other side, but I was thinking, ‘That’s it, I’m going to die of Covid’. I was scared of closing my eyes and going to sleep because I thought, ‘I’m not going to wake up’.”

And just a month later, she again broke down as she revealed she’d suffered a worrying cancer scare after finding a lump in her armpit – again fearing she was going to die.

Luckily, the swollen lump was a damaged lymph node from her previous breast reduction surgery, but Kerry said, “I’ve got really bad anxiety for death or anything like that, being a mother. I thought, ‘That’s it! I’m going to go to the doctor’s and they’ll tell me I’ve got three to six months’. We’re not invincible, whether you’re on the TV, a judge, a lawyer, or a TV presenter, it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re not invincible.”

The source adds, “When she had her cancer scare, Kerry genuinely thought she only had months to live. She tortures herself with the thoughts of how she has previously treated her body.”

kerry katona hopsitalised
She was hospitalised in 2019 ©Instagram / kerrykatona7

Kerry has a well-documented past with alcohol and drugs, taking drugs for the first time aged 14, after being introduced to them by her mum, Sue, who was an addict at the time. Sue now suffers from health conditions and is deemed at “high-risk” from Covid.

Her addiction led to Kerry overdosing twice, and Kerry has said, “The amount of coke I was once doing, I literally died. I remember coming back [from unconsciousness] with these beautiful figures around me and I felt so much love – that happened to me twice.”

In another interview, she said she was fortunate to still be here after taking cocaine, adding, “I’m very lucky to be alive. I could have overdosed, I could be dead.”

Check out: Kerry Katona's husbands and boyfriends - where are they now?


Kerry Katona's husbands and boyfriends - where are they now? - slider

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden1 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden

Kerry shot to fame in 1999, as 1/3 of pop band Atomic Kitten. It wasn't long before Kerry was swept into her first high-profile relationship – thanks to a well-timed tour with Irish crooners Westlife.During the tour, Kerry met Brian McFadden. Three months later he asked her to marry him.Shortly after he popped the question, Brian was quoted as saying: "Everything I plan, everything I do, revolves around Kerry. When I wake up in the morning, she's the first person I call."I've written a song about her called Fragile Heart. I write songs for Kerry every day, I get so much emotion thinking about her."It wasn't long before Kerry and Brian welcomed their first child: in August 2001, daughter Molly was born.

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden2 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden

They married in the celebrity wedding of the year in 2002, surrounded by friends, family and a collection of the country's biggest celebrities.Just a year after becoming husband and wife, Kerry and Brian's second daughter, Lily-Sue, was born. But a lavish wedding and two babies weren't enough to keep them together.In 2004 they shocked fans with the announcement of their separation, and to say things didn't end amicably would be an understatement.

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden3 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden

They've both since moved on and Brian admitted to The Irish Sun that his relationship with his ex-wife is the best it has ever been. He explained: "We don't speak about everyday stuff but we do work closely with anything to do with our kids, the same as most separated parents it's always about the kids."Our relationship is the best it has ever been. There are no fights or arguments, it's all good now. It's taken a long time to get there but I'm glad it's like that."

Brian McFadden4 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / brianmcfadden123

Brian McFadden now

After splitting with Kerry, Brian went on to date Delta Goodrem for seven years, before marrying Vogue Williams in 2011. It was to last though and years after their divorce, he has now moved on to PE teacher Danielle Parkinson.Things appear to be moving in the right direction because after Kerry Katona shared a photo of herself with Danielle, she then told OK! magazine that Brian's new girlfriend is "an absolute diamond".

Ziggy aka Zak Lichman5 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Ziggy aka Zak Lichman

Back in 2007 it was reported that Kerry and Ziggy once dated. A source told Reveal magazine: "Zak loves partying and is a big character on the club scene, so they had a real laugh together. "It didn't last long because Kerry was definitely still on the rebound. She wanted to keep their relationship secret in case she got back together with Brian."However Kez has since denied it, which is a shame because he's fit.

Ziggy aka Zak Lichman6 of 26
CREDIT: Twitter / ziggylichman

Ziggy aka Zak Lichman now

It's safe to say that long gone are his reality TV days and now Ziggy - who goes by his real name Zac Lichman - is a doorman at a fancy club in the West End.

Dan Corsi7 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Dan Corsi

Kerry dated Northern Line boyband member Dan Corsi however things didn't work out and they soon split.

Dan Corsi8 of 26
CREDIT: Twitter / @corsihecan

Dan Corsi now

Following his days back in the 90s in the boyband Northern Line, Dan is now a DJ.

Kerry Katona and Dave Cunningham9 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Dave Cunningham

Soon after Kerry was engaged again – this time to Dave Cunningham. However their happiness was short lived, and they split after having huge bust-up in Spain.It was reported at the time that Dave had been seeing his ex-girlfriend behind Kerry's back, leaving her heartbroken.A source told the People: "Because her private life has been made public before, she made a pact not to discuss the split. She is desperately trying to put on a brave face."It's bad enough dealing with a traumatic break-up under normal circumstances never mind dealing with it when you're Kerry Katona."Again it wasn't long before Kerry had found comfort in the arms of a new man.

Kerry Katona and Dave Cunningham10 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Dave Cunningham now

Since their split Dave has been pretty M.I.A and despite their breakup it seemed that Kerry was still fond of him. She explained to Closer magazine how close he was to her daughters Molly and Lilly-Sue: "I don't know what Brian's doing from one day to the next - the girls hardly see him."They'd started to call Dave dad. He's so wonderful to the girls. He's been a dad to them and done so many amazing things because their dad isn't around."

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft11 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft

Kerry and taxi driver Mark Croft married on Valentine's Day 2007. But their marriage was a controversial one – during their time together, Kerry, who was once worth an estimated £6.8 million, was declared bankrupt.Mark and Kerry have two children together, daughter Heidi and son Maxwell.

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft12 of 26

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft

It was also during her marriage to Mark that Kerry made her infamous This Morning appearance, when her slurring and erratic behaviour sparked concern with host Phillip Schofield and with viewers.Later it was revealed that Kerry was battling a cocaine addiction, and she's since admitted that she'd go on 'three-day coke binges' with Mark.She said: "I hated my life. I'd lie in bed for three days in a row doing cocaine with Mark. We did coke in our en suite and had a lock on the door. The kids knew if the bathroom door was locked they mustn't come in."

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft13 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft

Kerry and Mark split in 2010, two years after she was declared bankrupt, and he later publicly admitted he 'bled her dry'.During an interview with the Daily Star, Kerry confessed she'd almost ended her life while married to Mark.But, she says having the names of her eldest daughters tattooed on her wrists stopped her, as it stopped her from self-harming."If I was ever to do that it would mean cutting through my kids' names. And what a selfish mother I would be to do that. Like any mother, my first love and priority are my children, above everything and everybody."

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft14 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Mark Croft

Following her split from Mark, Kerry attempted to rebuild her media career and avoided high profile relationships for a few years.Kez has recently admitted that just days before she accepted Mark's proposal she begged ex-husband Brian McFadden to take her back. She's said the only reason she married her second husband was because he was her mum's drug dealer and she "thought she was going to get drugs for free."

Mark Croft15 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Mark Croft now

Where is Mark Croft you ask? Well that's a pretty good question actually. Back in 2015 he was caught 'running a £50,000 cannabis farm' but since then he has fallen off the grid.

Kerry Katona and Steve Alce16 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and Steve Alce

It seemed things were great between Kerry and Steve Alce after she told Closer magazine: "'I've never felt such love from somebody in my life. Steve is so perfect and I cant believe how lucky I am."We had an amazing time in Dubai but, after two messy marriages, I'm not desperate to get hitched again."But I'd never say never - Steve recently moved in and I finally feel so happy. We get on so well."However a month later she broke up with him. A source told The Sunday People: "She has made her mind up and Steve's pretty gutted. She is a party girl and loves being outrageous whereas he is a gentlemen."Kerry was smitten at first, she loved that he wasn't interested in all the celebrity glitz and glamour."Since then Steve has continued with his career as an artist.

Kerry Katona George Kay17 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona and George Kay

But in 2013 she met ex-rugby player George Kay, and it wasn't long before she gave birth to their first daughter together, Dylan-Jorge.George proposed to Kerry at the top of the Blackpool Tower in April 2013, and the got married in September 2014.

Kerry Katona George Kay18 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona George Kay

However shortly before their nuptials, George was detained under the Mental Health Act after having a 'breakdown' outside their home.At the time neighbours said he was 'running in and out of cars' and screaming "Kerry, they're going to f--king kill me. They are hitting me with a hammer."

Kerry Katona George Kay19 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona George Kay

Just two months after the wedding, it was reported Kerry and George were already on the rocks, and he himself admitted to Closer that marriage to Kerry 'isn't what he thought it would be'.Their marriage was rocked once again in June, when George was hospitalised with 'signs of a stroke'.According to reports, George's behaviour became too much for Kerry to cope with and the couple briefly split.Soon after they seemed to be firmly back on track, with them renewing their wedding vows to 'save the relationship'.

Kerry Katona George Kay20 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kerry Katona George Kay

Following a turbulent and alleged violent relationship, George and Kerry wasn't to last and in June 2017 the pair announced they'd split for the final time. Since then, Kerry has revealed she used to drink three BOTTLES of Cava a night during her marriage to George.

George Kay21 of 26
CREDIT: Shutterstock

George Kay now

Months after serving Kerry Katona with divorce papers, George moved on and begandating Miss Manchester pageant winner Fatime Gashi.George sadly passed away in July 2019 aged 39.

Kerry Katona James Englgish22 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / kerrykatona7

Kerry Katona and James Englgish

Just a few months after her split with her third husband, Kerry moved on to stand up comedian James English. Things got slightly bizarre when he spoke out about their relationship in an interview and said he's "using her" for fame, before describing her as "f--ked up".Riiight.A few months after confirming their relationship, Kerry deleted all traces of James on Instagram and announced they'd split by writing a quote about single life.

James English23 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / jamesenglish2

James English now

The former Glow star has since launched his own podcast called Anything Goes.

Kerry Katona single24 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / kerrykatona7

Kerry Katona single

Following her not-so-good-luck with me, Kerry Katona started 2018 single and with an INCREDIBLE body. An insider told Closer magazinethat the mum-of-five is happy being single. They explained: "Kerry has always hopped from one relationship to the next, but something has changed and she's now comfortable without a man. "She doesn't want just anyone - she says she'd rather hold out for someone decent, who respects her and can take care of her and the kids. She's learned her lessons from the past."Go Kerry!

Kerry Katona and Ryan Mahoney25 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / Ryan Mahoney

Kerry Katona and Ryan Mahoney

In July 2018, Kerry told her Instagram followers that she was "officially spoken for". Her hunky new beau was fitness instructor Ryan Mahoney. The good looking pair apparently met on dating app Bumble.

Ryan Mahoney26 of 26
CREDIT: Instagram / Ryan Mahoney

Ryan Mahoney

Ryan and Kerry split in October 2018 following a make-or-break holiday in Thailand. Kerry had posted a selfie of her and a fit looking Ryan days after ranting about "fat" Brian McFadden . They reconciled following Kerry's appearance on Celebs Go Dating in 2019.

Closer magazine
Get the best celeb interviews in Closer magazine each week ©Closer magazine

But following Kerry’s 2017 split from husband George – who died in 2019 from a drug overdose – she vowed to overhaul her life. She quit booze and partying, as well as yo-yo dieting.

After reaching a size 16, she slimmed down to a size 8-10, which she has maintained with a balance of exercise and healthy eating, which she also credits for helping her mental health.

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She said last year, “I have five kids, I want to be around for as long as possible. No offence to my mum, she’s only 60. She can barely bleeding walk. She’s smoking, she’s coughing, she can’t get on the floor and play with DJ or anything and I don’t want to be like that in 20 years’ time.”

However, after getting the all-clear from her medical, Kerry says Ryan and her kids are urging her to stop focusing on her health fears, and to look forward to their future instead.

“Luckily, Ryan and her kids know her fears and have been incredibly reassuring – joking that she will outlive them all and make it past the 100 mark!” says the source. “Kerry appreciates all they do to support her, and has promised them that from now on she will focus on looking positively to the future, rather than worrying about what-ifs.”

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