TOWIE’s Nicole Bass opens up on ‘horrific’ two years of daily panic attacks and being so thin her bones were ‘jutting out’

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Following brief stints in 2015 and 2016, Nicole Bass has returned to TOWIE as a fully-fledged cast member.

Although she looks in good health on screen, the 28-year-old star has been battling severe anxiety for the past two years.

In our exclusive chat, Nicole reveals her illness was triggered by a painful split from her ex Sam Mucklow in 2018. He then got together with her pal Shelby Tribble just months later.

Until now she has never spoken about the debilitating panic attacks that prevented her from leaving her house for three months and caused her weight to drop to 6st. “I was dangerously thin and all of my bones were jutting out,” she says.

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However, thanks to a combination of finding love again with an Essex businessman, whose name she's keeping private, and undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy, she's miles away from the dark place she once found herself in.

Hi Nicole. Why have you decided to open up about your battle with anxiety now?

I can talk about it now, but the past two years have been pretty horrific. My first panic attack happened a few months after I split up with Sam – I'd gone through a very public break-up and there was a lot of pressure on me.

How bad did it actually get?

I was in tears most days, found it hard to see anyone and couldn't eat. It was a horrible time.

Who helped you through it initially?

I've always looked after my mum because she has underlying health issues, but she was crying and cuddling me and she said, “You have to get back up”. I had no appetite and dropped from 9st to 6st.

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How did you turn a corner?

About a year ago, I looked in the mirror thinking, “You can't let this beat you.” I started at the gym, and doing weights and being hungry made me eat more and gain weight.

Were you advised to take medication?

The doctors would try to give me medication for anxiety, but I don't believe in it. My brother was really supportive and helped me to get some CBT training.

How have you managed to keep the weight on?

I worked hard to get back to my normal size. I had protein shakes – one in the morning and one after training – which helped me bulk up. My diet consists of lots of protein and carbs like chicken and rice.


You have this radiant look about you. Is that because of a new man in your life?

I've been with someone since last December. I met him at an over-25s night and initially I thought, “Everyone in here is ancient”. Then I saw him across the room and we got chatting and clicked immediately. I'm extremely happy, but it's still early days.

Do you ever speak to your ex Sam or to Shelby?

We don't speak at all. While I was trying to deal with my heartache, I saw him on TV with one of my friends and that was the worst thing. I'd rather just pretend that they don't exist and get on with my life.

You, Olivia Attwood and Clelia Theodorou have already been hit this series by claims of bullying because of your feud with Chloe Brockett. How do you feel about that?

It was 100% not bullying, even Chloe has said she didn't feel bullied. I would never bully anyone. I'm a kind person – I always have been – and now I want to set up my own mental health charity to help others.

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