My Mum, Your Dad star jailed five times and fought addiction before TV debut

A contestant on ITV's new 'middle-aged Love Island' dating show has been revealed to have a darker past before her TV debut.

Natalie Russell is set to star on the new dating show from the broadcaster, My Mum, Your Dad.

The single mum, aged 44, currently works as a relationship coach and a self-esteem builder.

READ MORE: Davina McCall says her dating show for midlifers is 'desperately needed'

But it was not always so easy for Natalie, who battled her way from drug addiction and several stints in prison.

Opening up on a self-love podcast, Russell admitted that she had a rough life, with years of substance abuse leading to time in rehab and a psychiatric hospital.

"Those people you see running around on the street looking to get their next fix, that was me," she explained.

She also confessed that her addiction was triggered due to childhood trauma she experienced growing up. The trauma then fostered a "deep hatred" for herself.

"I had a lot of trauma as a child – there was sexual abuse in teenage years," she confessed.

"There was rape, a broken home; I ran away from home and I ended up abusing substances which led to prison and psychiatric hospital, suicide attempts – just utter chaos".

This trauma and self-hatred fed into her love life, with her going through a series of "toxic and abusive relationships". She went on to admit that every partner she has had since the age of 17 has cheated on her.

But Natalie is looking to turn her luck around, as she goes on the new ITV dating show that pairs those in their middle age together.

She has also been working hard to rebuild her self-love, going to counselling and therapy sessions galore – and inspiring her to set up her own self-help business.

Bournemouth-based Russell has not had any contact with the fathers of her two teenage sons, and after being single for six years, she confessed she finds it hard to open up.

Continuing on the Little Girls Aren't Taught This podcast, she said that she had a lot of healing to do before she could be ready to date again.

"The repeated patterns ran deep and I needed a lot of space and time to invest on learning to love myself deeply before I ever brought anyone new into my life," she explained.

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'I've got two children and I refuse to ever play out that pattern again in their lives and have them impacted and that's probably a little part of why I'm still on my own".

Natalie is one of eight singletons that is hoping to find a connection on the ITV dating show, hosted by Davina McCall starting on Monday (September 11).

It emerged that Natalie had been nominated to go on the show by son Kaliel, 20 – who will also appear on the show.

When asked why he signed his mum up to apply, Kaliel opened up, saying he wanted his mum to "be happy".

He also described his mum as "caring, ambition, funny, thoughtful and kind", hoping that her perfect partner would be loyal and respectful.

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email  [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

My Mum, Your Dad kicks off on September 11 and run for two weeks at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

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