Someone who’s also spoken out in the past about the stigma and struggles around having a blended family is Kerry Katona, who has five children with her three ex-husbands – Molly, 20, and Lilly-Sue, 19, with Brian McFadden, Heidi, 15, and Max, 14, with Mark Croft, and Dylan-Jorge, eight, with George Kay, who tragically died of an overdose in 2019.
Now she exclusively tells Closer how it took her until her late 30s to feel happy and content to say goodbye to her dream of the “perfect” family.
Kerry, 41, says, “Being an only child, not knowing my biological dad and being pushed from pillar to post, I’ll never forget joining Atomic Kitten and going to Natasha [Hamilton’s] house and seeing her mum, dad and sister. Her dad was making spaghetti and her mum was ironing. I just thought, ‘Oh, this is the life I crave’. I just wanted to have a family.”
“Brian was my knight in shining armour. We had our daughters and I thought, ‘I’ve got my dream’. When Brian left, I just couldn’t believe my kids were from a ‘broken’ home. All I ever wanted was that unity. I was distraught and I thought I just needed to get married again quickly so they would have a man in their life, because I never did.
“I met Mark, and that went to s--t, and then George. My children are the best thing that ever happened to me but it took me a long time to realise I was forcing my dream of the ‘perfect family’ on them. I was enough for them and always have been.”
She adds, “Unfortunately life doesn’t pan out how you want it to, but I have five amazing, individual, beautiful children.
“I’ve been massively judged, to the point I feel so embarrassed about getting married for the fourth time. George was beating me up and I kept going back because I was so bothered about what the public thought, and I didn’t want another failed marriage, and another dad living in a different house. But I did the right thing, and everyone tells me if I had stayed I would have ended up dead.
“Thankfully, these days mocking someone for having children with different dads is just so uncool, but when Stacey and I were young it was acceptable. But everyone deserves a happy ending.”