FORMER I’m A Celeb contestant Nicola McLean has revealed for the first time how she was sexually assaulted by a masseur in her own home.
The mother of two has suffered nightmares, severe anxiety and the return of an eating disorder since the attack last year.
Now the former Page 3 model has bravely come forward in a bid to help others.
Nicola, 38, said: “I’ve seen all the statistics about domestic violence and abuse going up during lockdown.
“I felt like I couldn’t escape that day and I can’t imagine being in that situation day after day, feeling like you can’t get away. I want to say to anyone out there being abused — you can escape.”
It is just over a year since Nicola decided to have an £18,000 “mummy makeover”, with new 32FF boobs and liposuction.
To aid her recovery, she was advised to have regular lymphatic drainage massages after the fat-removing procedure. It meant she invited the man who would assault her into her home.
She said: “It has affected me deeply. I’ve had nightmares, I trust people less now.
“I’ve spoken about my anxiety and eating disorders before and this has added to everything. There have been times when I felt it was my fault or, ‘Why me?’
“When I’ve felt overwhelmed, I’ve starved myself or binged and thrown up, and that’s sad because I’ve worked hard to overcome my eating disorders.”
Following the surgery, in which five litres of fat were removed, Nicola felt very weak and needed to take iron supplements.
The star, who lives in Bucks with her husband, retired Peterborough United footballer Tom Williams, said: “I was in bed for weeks, barely able to lift my head. I felt exhausted. I’ve never felt so ill in my life.”
At first Tom was able to care for her but when he had to return to work running his concierge company, Nicola told herself she had to “man up”.
On June 13 — their tenth wedding anniversary — the masseur arrived at the house for their scheduled session and immediately commented on Tom’s absence.
Towards the end of the hour-long visit, he asked Nicola if he could massage her legs, which struck her as strange as she had not had liposuction on them.
She said: “I wasn’t really very with it so I said it was OK. I was lying on my front and he started massaging my inner thighs and then he kept going up.
“You have to wear a special garment after liposuction that fits around your abdomen and the top of your thighs but is open at the crotch so you can go to the toilet. You can’t wear knickers with it.
“I was utterly petrified. I was in the house on my own and I was completely helpless. I was searching through my mind as to whether there were any heavy objects in the room but I was just so weak.
“All I could do was lie there and wait for it to be over. I’ve no idea how long it went on for. In my mind it was about 15 minutes — all the while I could hear his heavy breathing.
"I’m a feisty woman but I just wasn’t strong enough to do anything. This man was huge compared to me.”
After the masseur left, Nicola bolted the front door and sat on her bed, numb, before calling Tom who had flown to the US on business.
She said: “Tom was very supportive. He felt horrendous being so far away but he was really brilliant. I told him I didn’t want to talk about it again.”
But any hopes that Nicola had of forgetting her attacker soon vanished.
She said: “I didn’t expect to hear from him again but a few days after it happened he started brazenly messaging me, being super-friendly and asking me to recommend him to other people.
"I found it so odd and it really made me feel like I was going crazy. This man had rubbed me between my legs inappropriately when I was in a vulnerable position and here he was, trying to be friendly.
“I later read that Harvey Weinstein did this to lots of his victims as a tactic to cover his vile behaviour after the fact.”
On the surface, no one would have guessed there was anything wrong with Nicola. She has continued to appear on TV shows including the Jeremy Vine programme on Channel Five and ITV’s This Morning.
She stepped into last year’s “Wagatha Christie” controversy to defend her friend Rebekah Vardy when Coleen Rooney accused the wag of selling stories about her.
And earlier this year Nicola spoke of how she had been exchanging messages with Love Island host Caroline Flack shortly before her tragic death.
On Instagram, former Celebrity Big Brother housemate Nicola seemed to have the perfect life, posting shots of herself alongside more homely images with her sons Rocky, 14, and ten-year-old Striker.
In lockdown she has relished having the chance to home-school the boys. And she has had a laugh, too, putting the bins out while in her wedding dress. But behind the gloss, she has been struggling to cope.
Unable to bear the constant physical reminder of the attack in their home, the family moved house. Nicola said: “I wouldn’t have been able to stay there. I won’t allow anyone into my home now if I’m on my own.”
She has now decided to go to counselling once lockdown is over.
Only six people in her circle knew about her assault. One was her sister, who urged her to report it to the police. But the reaction of two friends dissuaded her from doing so.
Nicola said: “We had planned for them to come round to cheer me up on my anniversary, as Tom was away.
“I told them what happened that day and they said, ‘Did you enjoy it?’ I was horrified, absolutely disgusted.
"Then I thought, ‘That’s what people are going to think. They’re going to think I was lying or that I enjoyed it, or that I asked for it because I have these massive boobs’.
“If you look up the stats for sexually motivated crime, the perpetrators rarely end up in front of the judge.”
Now Nicola hopes that talking publicly about her experience will help others.
She said: “I want to say to men and women who are assaulted, ‘I didn’t report what happened to me, but you should’. I feel like I let people down by not going to the police.
“But I’d like to use my voice now to help others. We are programmed as people to stay silent, but everyone needs to use their voice.”
- If you’ve been affected by Nicola’s story, help is available at The Survivors Trust (thesurvivorstrust.org, 0808 801 0818)
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