Michelle Heaton: Hero or Villain?

 

Life in the public eye has not always been easy on Michelle Heaton. She first hoved into view in 2001 as a gobby Geordie who lost out on the chance to be in mega-group (ahem) Hear'Say.

Yet she picked herself up and, with four other rejected Popstars candidates, formed Liberty X. That wasn't so bad; what was, was that Heaton was clearly the least accomplished singer in the group, which meant that all she got to do was breathe heavily and whisper, "I like it when you do it like that."

By the time the Xers split in 2007, she was as famous for being papped as for anything that came out of her mouth, and shots of her in various states of undress frequently decorated the tabloids.

Offering herself up as a guinea pig for a documentary on binge-drinking, she ended up with heart palpitations; but worse was to come in her nascent TV career, as she entered the Big Brother house then became a guest interviewer on the irredeemable OK! TV.

Yet she came through it all with a smile. It is an attitude the 33-year-old will need over the coming months after revealing last week that she has been diagnosed with a mutated gene called BRCA2, giving her an 80 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and 30 per cent chance of ovarian cancer. This has led her to the decision to have a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy – brave for anyone; not least someone whose career has placed so much focus on physical appearance.

Heaton admitted that she was asked by doctors whether she would like to be tested after her father was found to have the faulty gene three years ago, but declined. "I didn't really know what the issues were," she said. "Now I know knowledge is power, but at the time, my attitude was that ignorance was bliss."

By making her revelation, painful as it clearly was, Heaton is doing her utmost to ensure others – faulty versions of the BRCA genes affect between 2,000 and 3,000 breast-cancer patients a year – do not make the same error.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Management Trainer

£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Exciting career opportunity to join East...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Scientist / Research Assistant

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious start-up company b...

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Trustees

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Do you love the Engl...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin