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In her new book, This Girl Is On Fire, out next week, Andrea McLean opens up about the breakdown she suffered last year, recalling the moment her Loose Woman makeup artist and close friend Donna, told her she needed to seek help.
The therapy she eventually sought helped bring her back from the brink, however, she didn’t do it alone.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time – and in their first interview together as a couple – McLean and her husband Nick Feeney, talk about why it was important to embark on therapy together.
Feeney, who married Andrea in 2017, said her breakdown made him realise he needed the therapy as much as she did.
“How did I not realise that she's been trying to tell me?” Feeney said about the moment McLean came home to say she couldn’t go on.
Close to tears, Feeney continued: “I didn't hear it, so it was actually me that said, ‘we need therapy’. And she's like, 'Oh my God, it's not that bad'. I said, ‘It's not about that… I need to hear you and I'm not hearing you, so I need to be taught how I can help.’”
Listen: Andrea McLean talks about why she wanted to be open about her breakdown
The pair met on a blind date, set up by their mutual friend Donna, in 2015, marrying two years later. For both of them, it wasn’t their first trip down the aisle and McLean admits that past failed relationships were still haunting her, especially in the way she interacted with her new husband.
The Loose Woman anchor said: “I had been trying to say things… And because of my previous experiences and my previous relationships and this sort of thing, I realised that what I thought was communicating was talking in a whisper and wondering why no one could hear me. “
McLean believes that not speaking up was due to her worrying that her relationship would fall apart or that her new husband wouldn’t respond in the way she wanted.
“I was kind of giving half warning shots across the bow and then wondering why he wasn't hearing me,” she exclaimed.
The pair both agree that therapy has deepened their relationship and helped them to deal with disagreements in a much healthier way.
“We argue in very different ways,” she told host Kate Thornton. “For example, I bang on a lot apparently, and you [Nick] shut down a lot apparently.”
She continued: “What we learned was how do you think it makes Nick feel when you keep poking and how do you think it makes Andrea feel when you shut down? And it was that just realisation that we have different ways of what we call a resolution.”
Read more: Lessons in self-love by Andrea McLean
An added pressure for the couple is that they also run a business together. This Girl Is On Fire is a website that empowers women to live their best life, but running it from home together has caused some issues, which therapy has helped to iron out.
“You have to incorporate a language that works,” explained Nick.
“You go, ‘Right, this is our business talk. Let's not take this personally if I say that you haven't done this or that you've done this wrong or something like that’. And then outside of this, ‘This is our husband and wife talk’ and it's just understanding those behaviours and those connections.”
The couple have also learnt to let things calm down before they resolve issues and in allowing some time to move on, they’ve both realised that sometimes, the thing you’re arguing about isn’t always the actual problem.
“We had it last week and we realised the thing we were arguing about was not the thing we were arguing about at all,” laughed Andrea.
“And as ever everybody knows this, it's never the thing. I ended one marriage because he couldn't make cauliflower cheese! Clearly that is not why the marriage ended… It’s never the thing and you need to kind of peel away the layers a little bit!”
Ultimately, McLean believes that when one person is going through a difficult time, it’s important for both people in the relationship to acknowledge it and work through it.
“At the moment, it's me talking about me, me, me - my experience that I went through, but actually as a couple, you both go through something like this,” said the TV presenter.
“When you're a pair and one of you is in crisis, you both go through it. We had to learn for me how to feel strong enough to speak out. For Nick, it was how to be receptive.
“It's like the Apollo trip to the moon. You're only on course 3% of the time - 90% of the time you’re adjusting. That's how you hit your target - you're not always just bang on course!”
Buy it: This Girl Is On Fire by Andrea McLean | £7.99 (Was £12.99) from Amazon
Hear Andrea McLean and her husband Nick talk more about empowering women, working together and why they both love their dog more on this week’s episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.