EXCLUSIVE Kerry Katona: ‘I’m not everybody’s cup of tea’

The star talks marriage, knowing her worth, and frostbitten nipples, with Jo Carnegie

Kerry Katona 2019

by Jo Carnegie |
Updated on

Kerry Katona says her social life consists of working and doing interviews like this one, and you can totally tell. A chat with her is like hanging out with your loudest, most non-filtered friend at the pub (not that she goes to the pub these days – more on that in a bit).

She's always great company, talking at a million miles an hour; always brilliantly honest, warm-hearted and witty. We're speaking to Kerry for the paperback edition of her third autobiography Whole Again, which details her chaotic and colourful life with an unflinching focus on the abusive, coercive and controlling behaviour Kerry suffered at the hands of third husband George Kay, who died in 2019. Despite a litany of similarity grim life experiences: foster homes, drug addiction, bad husbands, divorces, mental health criss, and bankruptcy, the 42 year old tackles it all with refreshing and upbeat candour.

Kerry Katona
Kerry Katona (Getty) ©Getty

Now an entrepreneur, mum of five, business owner, fiancée, author, reality TV pro and "OnlyFans MILF" (her words), the ex-Atomic Kitten singer has added yet another string to her bow, as a motivational speaker and life guru.

We caught up with Kerry while she was in the middle of her No Regrets tour, where fans get to hear her talk about her life and have the chance to ask her advice on anything, from relationships and mental health, to addiction and bankruptcy.

We feel a chat show coming on...

When we last spoke, you said you hated writing the book, but had done it to help other people. What's the feedback been like?

Phenomenal. The messages I've received from people have brought me to tears. There's so many people out there who haven't realised that they're in that kind of [coercive and controlling] relationship. I’ve just done the audio book for it, which was really difficult to do, I was crying reading it out. But I wanted to get the emotion in there, because I want people to feel it and relate to it. As triggering as it was, it’s also about knowing that I’ve got through it, and you can get through it. You’ve just got to keep fighting and find that resilience inside. You’ve only got one life. The one thing I’ve learned over the years is that I always relied on a man to make me happy. Now, my happiness is myself. Ryan [Mahoney, Kerry’s fiancé] is part of that, but the difference is that I don’t need him. I want to be with him, but I make me happy.

What else have you learned through the whole process?

From doing the book, I’ve been able to dissect myself as a woman and as a mother. Since I was a child, I was trying to fulfil my dream of having a father figure in my life, and I thought that’s what my kids wanted. It took me to the age of 36 to realise that I was enough for my kids. Just me. It’s taken a long time to get there.

Who has reached out to you?

So many people. Women in the same situation as I was, or grandmas and mums getting in touch to say, “My son or daughter has been through this, with the drugs or the mental health.” It’s men, as well – a lot of them get in touch about the bankruptcy. I think there’s a lot around men and the money thing. I remember feeling so embarrassed about going bankrupt,

I wanted to drive my car off the bridge. You are judged by your success and as a person by how much money you have in the bank. There’s nothing I haven’t done that people can’t relate to.

You’ve said you wanted to go down the motivational-speaking path and it sounds like you're doing that...

That’s exactly what the No Regrets tour has been. Being one on one with people. You know, I started doing a life coaching course and I quit halfway through, because I thought, “I don’t need to do this.” I’ve been through it all. People ask me, “Kerry, who’s your hero?” It sounds egotistical, but I’m my hero. I’ve had to be, because no other f**ker else was going to help me. I’m my own inspiration and I’m the one who’s pulled myself through it. And it’s OK to give yourself credit. It’s also OK to acknowledge the mistakes you’ve made, but I don’t call them mistakes, I call them lessons. I’ve been through as much as everybody and I think it’s for a reason, to help people by telling my story.

Do you think you’ll ever write a self-help book? And, if so, what would it be called?

F**k You! [Cackles with laughter.] For me, it should really be Don’t Be Defined By Other People’s Opinions. For so long, I was so desperate for the press and the public to love me. I was so desperate to be loved, that’s all I wanted. You know, when you’re sat watching your mum slit her wrists, from the age of three, your self- worth is minimal. I was wanting everyone to love me, but I never loved myself. It took me a long time to accept myself and love me for who I am. I used to think that, when I got into a relationship, I was so lucky, because who’s going to take me on with five kids by three different dads? Well, f**k that shit! Whoever comes into mine and my kids’ lives, they’re the f**king lucky f**kers! We’re awesome. They’re the lucky ones.

That's some mindset shift...

It’s changing the narrative around what society tells us we should be – that we have to get married and stay together. I so desperately wanted all that. But life didn’t turn out the way I wanted. Because that’s not real. It isn’t full of rainbows and unicorns – it can be, and it can be amazing. But I define myself on how I now respond to situations in my life and how I get through it. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, so I’m not going to be a f**king mug. I made that saying up – I don’t know what it means, but I like it. [Cackles.]

While we’re on the subject of marriage, are you ever going to get round to it, or is Ryan your forever fiancé?

I honestly don’t know, and I don’t care. Some days, I really like him and some days I don’t [Laughs.]

Sounds like a lot of relationships. How does Ryan respond when you flip-flop between wanting to marry him and not?

Ryan absolutely adores me, and he adores my sense of humour. He also knows the trauma I’ve been through and he’s the first one who’s ever understood that.

Is being engaged the last bit of your security blanket around relationships? Could you ever be satisfied staying in a happy, loving, long-term relationship?

The problem is, this ring’s £20,000 and it looks really nice on my hand [Laughs.] I think we will end up getting married, we’ll probably f**k off to Vegas. Ryan wants to adopt DJ [Kerry’s nine-year-old daughter with George Kay].

Is that going to happen?

That is something that will happen, yeah. DJ wants it to happen. She doesn’t know life before Ryan – it's been five years now.

You've been settled back up north for nearly two years. Does it feel like home again?

Yeah, I mean, I really don’t have a social life. I don’t go, “Ooh, I’m going out with the girls”, because I don’t have any girls to go out with. My social life is going to work, doing this interview. I don’t really like going out, but being up north is great, because I’ll go to the hairdressers or go and get a bit of Botox, or do a food shop and have a bit of a chat – that’s my social life.

Still doing OnlyFans?

Still doing OnlyFans. Still love getting my tits out.

How does it actually work as a job? What does an OnlyFans working week look like?

It depends if I’m doing pictures. I don’t use filters or airbrushing. I know my audience, I’m a MILF. It’s just a case of taking pictures, putting them up. Get my tits out, take a picture. I could be sat here doing it now [we’re on WhatsApp audio]. I’m not, but I could very easily. It’s pictures and constant messaging all the time. But, hell yeah, why shouldn’t I?

What about in winter – doesn’t it get a bit chilly with your top off?

I put the heating on! I’m not having my nipples and nunny getting frostbite.

You’ve always been an open book – what’s one surprising thing that no one knows about you?

I’m a loner. I couldn’t think of anything worse than going out and having a drink. It doesn’t entertain me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have a drink every now and again. I’ll go on holiday and have a strawberry daiquiri by the pool, but I’m not a massive drinker. Ryan and I don’t drink at home. But I’ve not touched drugs in years. I should have been in the 27 Club [famous people who died at 27] and I’m so lucky and grateful that I’m still here. I hope I never touch them again, but who knows? I could wake up tomorrow and go and get a big f**k-off line of coke. I don’t know. I’m a human being and I’m just being realistic. But in my mind, I’ll never go down that road again.

Okay, so you're off drugs for life. Any other revelations?

I like my own time and I like learning. I think there’s more to life than what there is now.

So, you like learning and you’ve got a big brain. Are you like a chess champion or anything?

I used to play chess! I’m really good at it. I was in the chess club at school.

Kerry Katona: Whole Again (Mirror Books, £9.99) is on sale 6 July.

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