How Mario Falcone was pushed to suicide bid by trolls & secret depression – before sister Giovanna Fletcher 'saved him'

SHE'S currently braving Bushtucker trials on I'm a Celeb, but Giovanna Fletcher has stepped up when faced with far tougher tests in her life.

Her younger brother, Towie star Mario Falcone, 32, says he owes his sister "everything" when she supported him after vile online abuse pushed him to the brink of suicide.

🏰 Follow our I'm A Celebrity 2020 live blog for all the latest updates


Speaking to the Sunday People, he explained: "People might not know this but Giovanna quite literally saved my life when I was at my lowest ebb.

"I was having a really difficult time eight years ago going through a very public break-up.

"I was getting a lot of hate on social media and felt really backed into a corner – like this was the only way out."

Fans of Giovanna, 35, spoke up in her defence recently after trolls questioned why she's famous during her time on I'm a Celebrity.

But back in 2018, Mario sat down with The Sun to explain how online cruelty became so extreme that it led him to try to take his own life by swallowing pills with champagne after his messy split from former fiancée Lucy Mecklenburgh.

Here, we revisit his emotional and searingly honest interview.

Unbearable pressure

Mario seemed to have it all during his starring role on Towie, with a gorgeous girlfriend, famous pals, and a wardrobe full of designer clothes.

But with his every move scrutinised by a TV audience of 1million each episode, a baying mob of online trolls caused his life to come crashing down.

He was certainly no angel during his time on the hit reality show and openly admits to “being an idiot” at the height of his fame.

But he says people forget the message that appears at the start of Towie explaining scenes may have been “created for your entertainment.”

He said: “You only see such a small part of what really happened because scenes are cut and there's so many other people involved.

“For you to then get your phone out and write to that person and say horrendous things to them without even knowing them – you’re the person who should be in the therapist’s office talking about your problems.”

Sickening 'cancer' jibes

A false allegation that Mario had cheated on his girlfriend with a castmate led to him being bombarded with vile abuse including death threats like "I hope you die of cancer" – shattering his hopes of ever living a normal life again.

Mario revealed the devastating effect social media had on his mental health and urged anyone contemplating taking their own life to talk to someone as things will get better.

He said: "At the time I was on Towie, I was very, very young and I was being an idiot on the show – that goes without saying. "And with that came a lot of hate on social media."

But unbeknown to viewers, he was suffering with anxiety and depression and the torrent of criticism he received pushed him over the edge – with him attempting suicide in his hotel room seven years ago.

Days afterwards, he told his mother what he had tried to do and spoke to her for the very first time about his mental health problems.

He said: “Imagine your youngest child turning round to you and saying ‘last night I tried to take my own life because I’m so upset and so depressed'.

“That’s the thing that upsets me most looking back now."

WHERE TO GET HELP

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

 

It was Tom Fletcher – married to Giovanna – that gave him the number of a professional he could speak to for help, which Mario credits with saving his life.

He admitted not telling anyone about his problems was his “biggest mistake.”

Mario urged anyone else struggling with their own mental health not to do the same after admitting “shame and embarrassment” stopped him from being open.

'It's a dark cloud – you don't want to talk about it'

The star said he’d be better placed to brush off the abuse he received thanks to the help he had from his counsellor.

But he bravely admitted to still battling anxiety and depression.

At the time he said: "It's five years on, but even today I could have a day where I still feel down, I do get myself anxious.

“I don’t know why I feel down; it can just come from anywhere. I can’t explain as to why it is, it just happens.

“I have always described it as a dark cloud, you don’t want to talk about it, you feel it, it is always there but you crack on as if everything is okay.”

Mario said he was more capable of being able to take a step back and accept he’s just having a bad day – while thinking about the positive things in his life.

He added: “Not the things people focus on like Instagram, your house, your car – but Becky, I have a beautiful fiancée.

“I’m going to marry her in May – that is something to be so thankful for.

“I’ve got a baby on the way, another thing that I’ve always, always wanted.

"Those things get me through bad days.”

The couple are still engaged to be married after the pandemic led to them delaying their wedding for a second time.

Mario said spending his time working on clothing brand Ricercato and working out in the gym – which he did twice a day – was key to keeping his mental health issues in check.


Like every first time dad, Mario was a little apprehensive about the prospect of fatherhood but his excitement outweighs the nerves.

"Now I have to provide and put a roof over a baby’s head for years," he said.

"I worry now but with regards to going back into a dark place when the baby comes, I have my coping mechanisms and will talk about how I feel so it doesn't become something bigger.”

In one final message to anyone suffering with mental health issues – and who maybe struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel – Mario said he’s proof life can suddenly change for the better and that giving up is never the answer.

He said: “If you can’t talk to your family and friends, there are a lot of other outlets to talk to [see box above].

“See me as an example that however bad it gets, it can get a lot better once you’ve addressed the problems.”

Source: Read Full Article