Jennifer Ellison is fighting to keep fit after enduring cruel taunts about her figure following the birth of her baby boy.
The former Brookside beauty jumped from a size eight to 18 after she gave birth to son Bobby in 2010 and, while she lost the baby weight following her performance on Dancing on Ice this year, she admits the comments still upset her.
She told The Mirror: "I will never forget this one picture of me out with Bobby and the headline was 'Hippopotamum'. I did have chunky thighs and a double chin but it was such a cruel thing to say when I was just enjoying being a new mum and I didn’t care about how I looked.
Hurt: Former Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison was upset by taunts
"But it was only when I started to audition again and going up for roles that I realised that my weight was a problem. My husband Robbie thought I was gorgeous and I had a lovely figure but I was told at auditions that I needed to lose weight if I wanted to get work.
“That was when it got picked up and I was criticised for my size. It was upsetting and hurtful. But then Dancing on Ice came along and that was the incentive I needed.”
After following a gruelling fitness regime in recent months, she insists she does "feel proud of my body now in a way that I have never done before".
She continued: "Your perception of your body when you become a mum totally changes and I have got a new appreciation for it because I have grown a gorgeous little boy inside it. Because of that, I wasn’t in a hurry to lose weight but I love the fact that my stomach is flat again. I never imagined it would be.”