Scarlett Moffatt shares how stress of car accident triggered childhood battle with Bell's palsy

·2 min read
Scarlett Moffatt was diagnosed with the condition Bell's palsy when she was 11 years old. (Getty Images)
Scarlett Moffatt was diagnosed with the condition Bell's palsy when she was 11 years old. (Getty Images)

Scarlett Moffatt has opened up about how a period of intense stress as a child left her suffering from Bell's palsy.

The TV star, 31, started experiencing the condition – which causes facial muscle weakness or paralysis and tics – for several months following a "really bad time" when she was 11 years old.

Speaking to The Sun's Fabulous magazine, she explained it was triggered by a combination of a car accident, in which the vehicle "ploughed" into her knocking out all her front teeth, and her father's battle with skin cancer.

Her symptoms included continual blinking and problems breathing, as well as her mouth drooping on one side and problems closing her right eye.

Moffatt said: "It was a stressful time and I remember always having a knot in my stomach.

"And that’s when I developed tics. I had eye twitches and really bad breathing ones."

The presenter continued: "I can remember it being so awful thinking: 'Why can’t I get my brain to stop me from twitching my eyes or breathing funny?' The scary thing was I just didn’t understand it.”

After being diagnosed with Bell's palsy, she recalled: "I remember standing in front of the mirror literally screaming trying to stop it, trying to get my face straight."

Fortunately her father got better, and steroids and speech therapy helped her tics to ease – however Moffatt believes it has left her face unsymmetrical.

She is set to front an upcoming documentary for Channel 4 on the topic, called Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery: Scarlett Moffatt Investigates.

Moffatt rose to fame on Channel 4's Gogglebox and as the winner of ITV's I'm A Celebrity in 2016, and has since appeared on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV.

Last month, singer Justin Bieber revealed that he had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which experts said is often misdiagnosed as Bell's palsy.

Watch: Celebrities reveal their mental health struggles