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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 08:53 GMT 09:53 UK
Talking Shop: Gail Porter
Gail Porter
Gail Porter has suffered form Alopecia for several years
In recent years TV presenter and former model Gail Porter has become more well known for her health issues than anything else.

From suffering from Alopecia to battling serious bouts of depression, Porter has rarely stayed out of the newspapers.

Which is why the 36-year-old mother of one has decided to set the record straight once and for all in her autobiography, Laid Bare.

Porter explains why she decided to put pen to paper and how she copes with hair loss.

What made you decide to write the book?

After everything that has happened and my hair fell out I thought 'you have got to be winding me up'. Then I thought maybe there is a story here and I can help somebody else.

Just because you lose your hair doesn't mean to say that life is awful. I just thought it would be quite fun to write as I've never done it before.

Was it therapeutic writing the book?

It was in a way as I looked back at lots of things that I did such as self-harming. When you see it in black and white it really makes you take stock. I talked about things that I hadn't dealt with properly before.

When I wrote things down I thought perhaps I'm not that strong and maybe I do just need a little bit of extra help.

How do you cope with Alopecia?

Gail Porter
Gail Porter presented the BBC show Top of the Pops for a while

I've got to the stage of not really caring any more. When it happened I thought it was a wind-up. Everyone was really supportive.

It was easier than I thought to deal with - I thought it's just another thing, get on with it, it's just another part of the journey.

I get lots of letters about it, and people stop me in the street. It's really encouraging, because it is a big thing not having hair. But I'm still here, I've still got my health.

What have been the real low points for you throughout your life so far?

I think the time I woke up in hospital that had to be one of the worst times.

I was just desperately tired to be honest I just thought the more tablets I take and the more vodka I washed down I would be bound to get a good night's sleep.

Was it a wake-up call?

My depression had kicked in and I'd come off Prozac really quickly. When I woke up in hospital I thought 'right, I really need some help here, I need to talk to someone.'

I couldn't imagine my daughter not having a mum.

What sort of help did you get?

They sent me to The Priory, but I lasted about five minutes because I was not paying that much money for people to just talk at me.

I started relying on my family and friends. That's how I got through it and I got new medication which suited me much better.

Gail Porter and Dan Hipgrave
Gail Porter and Dan Hipgrave married in 2001

When were you diagnosed with depression?

I've always suffered on and off and also went through post-natal depression.

It was all building up. As much as you think you've got everything and are really happy, there's something in your brain that is holding you back somehow.

You still get on with everyday life but you have this weird feeling that you're not quite right.

How much do you think the breakdown of your marriage to Dan Hipgrave - who was a guitarist with Toploader- to blame?

It was a very stressful time, but we just couldn't live together.

We speak every day because of our daughter Honey. We're on much better terms than we were.

Gail Porter was speaking to BBC News entertainment reporter Fiona Pryor.

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