P Posted by Sandra on October 9 2017 0 Comments Harry Judd, News, Photo gallery update


The former Strictly champ opened up to Fabulous about his mental health difficulties, and issues with drugs and alcohol.

Harry Judd arrives at our shoot still revelling in the hour or so’s peace the car journey here has just afforded him. With 20-month-old Lola and six-week-old Kit causing carnage at home, quiet and calm aren’t usually on the agenda these days.

“I love being with them and I’m so lucky, but god, it’s hard work!” he admits. “I don’t know how people have four of them. But it’s a crazy, wonderful thing.”

Despite the lack of sleep, Harry is remarkably bright-eyed and bushy-tailed today. He’s currently in a really good, healthy place. After years of battling debilitating anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, the demons are firmly at bay. Harry opens up about those mental health difficulties and issues with drugs and alcohol, plus how he overcame them through exercise in his book Get Fit, Get Happy, which is serialised in The Sun from tomorrow.

Part-memoir, part-fitness guide, it’s an uplifting and accessible read, full of photos of Harry demonstrating how readers can work out on the go – at the bus stop, in the office, in the shower (cue some gratuitous topless shots of a dripping wet Harry). It’s also intensely honest.

“It’s not a plan, it’s more: ‘Here’s my philosophy, here’s my story, here’s how fitness helped me,’ he explains. “My mental health has been up and down since I was 19, and I’m coming up to 32 now. It’s something I’m going to have to keep tabs on for the rest of my life, but exercise is something I can control. It focuses me, it’s productive and it makes me feel good. I’m happier in my job, my relationship, everything.

“I don’t drink alcohol any more, I quit smoking, I certainly don’t do any drugs – it’s been a long time since I touched drugs. Those were the reasons anxiety reared its ugly head.”

Harry has more incentive than ever to manage his mental health after the births of his two children – becoming a dad has played a significant role in helping him stay well. After turning to IVF to conceive Lola following two years of infertility issues, Harry and his violinist wife Izzy, 33, were prepared to undergo the whole gruelling process again for baby number two.

However, life is full of surprises. “We were planning another round of IVF for this summer, but Izzy was like: ‘Oh, let’s just see what happens’. And you know, as a husband after a nine-month pregnancy and a bit of a delay after that, I was like: ‘OK. Yes, let’s see what happens!’

“And then she was pregnant and part of me was like: ‘This is amazing’, but also… yeah.” Harry sighs wearily and then laughs, quick to clarify that he’s in no way moaning about his lot.

Parenthood can be tough and exhausting, but he and Izzy wouldn’t change a thing, not after the emotional and physical turmoil they went through to have their family.

They started trying for a baby not long after getting married in 2012.

It was “the natural progression” and something they’d often talked about from the early days of their relationship.

They first became aware of a problem when, after several months, nothing was happening and Izzy was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition which can lead to infertility. It was a crushing blow and kick-started a painful journey that would test their marriage and send Izzy into despair.

“Izzy so desperately wanted to be a mother and so as soon as we realised there was a problem, it took over her life,” Harry says. “She went for medical procedures and help and took all the pills and all the things she was told to and it was very testing on her. And everyone else around us was getting pregnant. Izzy wasn’t even ovulating, so there was no chance of getting pregnant.

“The medication had a huge effect on her – it changed her appearance [making her gain weight and suffer bloating] and damaged her confidence. We were in the midst of McBusted [the McFly and Busted supergroup] touring and what was supposed to be a really fun, exciting time, but poor Izzy would be wearing a hoodie pulled up and hiding on the bus because she felt so low. It was tough.”

The heartache, stress and longing for a baby was constantly looming and started to impact on their relationship, too. It became all-consuming. “The dynamic changed because all the focus was on getting pregnant and in a way I lost her a little bit. I lost that smiley, confident, beautiful wife.

“Our wedding had been the happiest day of our lives – cut to a year later and she’s in absolute despair. I remember after two years thinking: ‘God, we haven’t even had a kid and already I’m sick of this.’ It was constant but I felt I couldn’t get frustrated at her.”

Well-meaning confidants would pitch in with advice, although many were guilty of exacerbating the frustration. One of the worst things you can tell anyone struggling with fertility, says Harry, is to relax.

“People would say that to me: ‘Harry she just needs to relax’, and I’d just want to…”

He takes a sharp breath. “Trust me. She’s got polycystic ovaries, it’s got nothing to do with relaxing.

“We were open with people about it. After a year and a half we said we were struggling, we’d tried this, seen this person, Izzy’s taking this. Putting on a front is pretty exhausting so that’s how we dealt with it. For me, it was liberating.”

A first attempt at IVF in 2014 resulted in a pregnancy, although Izzy sadly miscarried at seven weeks. She was keen to try again soon after, but Harry persuaded her to take a break and fully recover.

“You allow yourself to dream and then having to go through that trauma of miscarriage, especially for the woman, it’s brutal and it cuts deep.

“McBusted was about to go on tour in Australia so Izzy came along and had a bit of time off. That break was good for her, she processed the miscarriage and then prepared for the next round. That one result is a toss of the coin, there’s so much riding on it. Thankfully we got through it.”

The second round of IVF was successful and after a “nerve-wracking” pregnancy, during which an anxious Harry “obsessively counted the days”, Lola was born in January 2016.

“It had been this build up of three years of mainly downs, and then the moment she was born it was this huge outpouring of emotion,” he remembers. “It was such a euphoric feeling and it’s been amazing ever since. I am utterly besotted with her. She’s a constant focus. There’s a responsibility to look after myself for my kids’ sake and everything I do now is for them. I want to secure our future and have a stable and happy life. That’s all I want.”

Harry is full of praise for Izzy. “God, you women go through it. I hand it to you, women are the greater of the two sexes. You have nine months of pregnancy, then having to give birth and then dealing with the hormones, the milk coming in and breastfeeding. Izzy’s had mastitis so she’s been expressing for Kit because she can’t get him back on the breast at the moment. Then there’s the sound of the breast pump going at 4am, the baby’s crying and it’s full-on.

“But I was right all along, I knew Izzy would be a great mum because she’s at her best when she’s caring for other people. She’s a fantastic mother and has been brilliant from the start.”

Would they think about a third?

“Don’t ask me now!” he laughs. “Because right now it’s a no! Who knows? I always wanted three. I’m one of three and Izzy’s one of four.

But now we’ve had two it’s a bit like: ‘Yeah, about that…!’ We’d be very content with two. They’re both healthy and we’ve been lucky, considering.”

Harry and Izzy met back in 2005 when she was playing the violin in the orchestra for McFly’s first arena tour, Wonderland. He was 19 and she was 21 and Harry says he knew right from the start that he was going to marry her.

“I’ve always been a hopeless romantic,” he jokes. “But I just knew. There were times in our 20s when I wondered if it had been lucky to meet The One so young. I had such a busy job and she was a bit older than me and wanted more commitment and you have all those kinds of issues.

“Izzy has always described it as having this rope between us, and that even when we weren’t together we were always connected. I knew. We knew. For me it’s having that understanding, looking at that person and knowing you can share anything and they’re not going to judge you, they’re not going to think any less of you. In fact it’ll make them love you even more. I think that is the key to chemistry and love.”

Harry admits that McFly has taken a bit of a backseat over the past few years since McBusted formed (and then unformed), and as the boys have all pursued other creative avenues.

Dad-of-two Tom Fletcher, 32, and Dougie Poynter, 29, have written a series of children’s books together.

Dougie has since moved on to modelling and acting – catch him in superhero movie The Academy later this year – while Tom has turned one of his latest stories, The Christmasaurus, into a musical, which opens in London this December. Meanwhile, Danny Jones, 31, was a coach on The Voice Kids UK and has forged a career as a DJ and producer, working with the likes of One Direction. He’s also expecting his first baby with wife Georgia Horsley, 30, in January.

“It’s been a bit frustrating,” Harry says. “We had an album ready but then Tom had a kid, then we did McBusted and two tours with that. Then I had Lola and by the time we came back to the album, it was three years old and it didn’t feel right.

“The fans are understandably annoyed with us, but when you’re putting out art it’s got to be perfect and we were in such a different place when writing and recording that album.” The plan now is to block out some quality time in 2018, get their heads together and, hopefully, produce a new album by the end of the year.

“There’s no point in writing next Wednesday and then not meeting up again for a fortnight. We want to make new music and we want to move forward.” At the heart of the band is a genuine friendship, and a quick glance at the boys’ social media accounts shows that despite McFly having been on the backburner, they all still live in each other’s pockets.

After 14 years together, they’ve seen each other through some tough times – Tom and Dougie have also been upfront about their own struggles with mental health.

“We’ve been through a lot together. I’ve been with Dougie when he’s been in the depths of despair and they’ve all seen me when I’ve not been easy and my anxiety has maybe halted opportunities for the band or brought the mood down. Tom is one in a billion, very modest and very kind and the most gifted person I’ve ever come across. He never ceases to amaze me with his output. But with great powers of creativity often comes a downside. He has an unbelievable creative brainpower and that tests him mentally. He’s a much happier person in the last four or five years. I saw it plague him much more in the earlier days of the band. Dougie is complicated but at the heart and soul is a great guy, the same as Tom and Danny, and that’s how we survived because they are just good people. Driven and talented but good.”

He mentions a secret project that will keep him busy “during November and December” (I’m a Celebrity! anyone?) but says “ultimately” McFly will remain the priority as far as work is concerned.

“I want to keep doing McFly until I’m unable to do so physically. But the great thing about my job is that I get offered opportunities that are exciting or terrifying. It’s a strange existence and a weird life, but I feel very lucky.”



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