In 2011, Charlotte Crosby first gained nationwide fame on Geordie Shore, with the reality show following her among a group of party-loving housemates, their whirlwind relationships and wild adventures in Newcastle.
Now, over a decade later, the reality star is fronting a brand new documentary series about her life, taking viewers behind the scenes of growing her beauty and fashion businesses, moving in with her boyfriend, discovering she was pregnant and finding out her mum had been diagnosed with cancer.
Charlotte in Sunderland, which launched on BBC Three on February 1, delivers a fascinating insight into the now-32-year-old’s life, as she admitted that the programme was initially supposed to just centre on her career.
However, the surprise of her pregnancy with boyfriend Jake Ankers set them down a new path, as she discussed while recently chatting with Metro.co.uk.
‘We filmed from the start of the year till the end. Absolutely everything was covered. Everything as it naturally happened,’ she said, stressing how passionate she feels about creating TV, and how she never felt as though she wanted to shy away from sharing details of her life on screen.
Businessman Jake, on the other hand, was ‘really nervous’ to take part, as while he’s particularly private on social media in comparison to Charlotte, he has a very prominent role in the docu-series.
Charlotte, who moved in with Jake after they’d been together for just a short while, said: ‘It took a lot of persuading to get Jake to be part of the TV show. He was so nervous and even after he would film he would worry about it, he would literally be like, “Was that okay? I don’t think this is for me, I’m nervous. I don’t think I came across well.”
‘I was like, “Stop worrying, everything was fine. You were amazing, stop worrying.” It was something that he struggled with quite a lot, but then at the end he was a complete natural and I think he really enjoyed it.’
In April last year, Charlotte announced that she was pregnant, writing on social media: ‘A moment I wasn’t sure would ever be mine is here.’
Shortly after finding out that she and Jake were expecting their first child, she discovered that her mum Letitia Crosby has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘I’d just found out I was pregnant, I hadn’t been pregnant too long. It’s unimaginable. Me and my mum are so close and it was absolutely horrendous,’ she recalled.
‘You don’t know how you’re gonna feel with that news, and I surprised myself with how I handled it, with everything else that was going on. I definitely think that there’s just a whole different side to us that people are going to see.’
Recollecting that ‘some days were really hard’, Charlotte shared that there were ‘a couple of quite intense scenes in the show where it gets a little bit too much’.
However, her mum felt strongly about ensuring that the journey of her diagnosis and cancer treatment was documented, as she ‘wanted to stress how important it is to never miss a mammogram and to always check your breasts’.
How should you check your breasts for lumps or irregularities?
Discussing the importance of being breast aware, Addie Mitchell, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Now, wants women to know there is no right or wrong way to check your breasts.
‘It’s about looking and feeling regularly so any changes can be spotted quickly,’ she said. ‘The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more effective treatment may be.
‘Whatever your age, being aware of all the signs and symptoms of breast cancer is crucial – it’s not just a lump to look out for. Other changes could be a nipple becoming inverted or a change in texture of the skin.
‘While most symptoms won’t mean breast cancer, if you notice anything unusual for you get it checked out by your GP.
‘Anyone with questions can call Breast Cancer Now’s nurses free on 0808 800 6000 or visit breastcancernow.org.uk.’
‘It felt nice in a way to be able to hopefully shed some light on these situations, help people in these situations, just anything. I think that’s an incredible position to be in, if you can even help one person like that. It’s an amazing thing,’ Charlotte said.
Having spoken to the TV personality in mid-January, she told us that Letitia has now finished off her treatments, which included chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so now they’re just waiting for her next mammogram to hopefully receive the all-clear.
While going through her pregnancy and giving birth to her daughter Alba Jean Ankers – whose arrival was featured in the final 10th episode of the docu-series – Charlotte also suffered the death of her beloved Nana.
In November last year, she released a statement after her loss, saying: ‘I don’t think my world will ever be the same.’
During our interview, she said that she felt ‘so lucky’ to have been able to make the programme, but admitted that it was ‘going to be extremely hard to watch’.
‘It’s been a year, I’m desperate for it to come out. It’s not all amazing because there’s some really, really hard times. It’s gonna be emotional for everyone to watch,’ she said.
‘I’m desperate to watch the memories with my Nana, me giving birth – it’s a year of my life and to be able to look back on that, the high and the low, it’s gonna feel pretty incredible. So I’m just desperate for it to come out now.’
Charlotte also teased that her fans will get to see her ‘on a deeper level than ever’, joking that they’ll ‘literally see her intestines’ and her ‘internal organs’ in the scenes of her giving birth in episode 10.
Imagining what it could be like for Alba to watch the show one day, she remarked: ‘I would love to have seen me be born, so the fact that I’ve got that there is amazing.’
She continued: ‘I’ve not seen episode 10 but my agent has, and I’ve heard that episode 10 is really, really emotional. It’s the same episode that my Nana passes away. Apparently episode 10 takes you on the wildest rollercoaster of emotions.’
Charlotte in Sunderland begins tonight at 10pm on BBC Three and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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