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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Nicola Methven

Stacey Solomon riddled with fear she could be 'left on streets' despite success

Stacey Solomon can’t quite believe her luck. Fourteen years after blowing away judges on The X Factor with her exquisite version of Wonderful World, she is still working in showbusiness, having carved out a successful career as a TV presenter.

Embarking on the second series of BBC1’s Sort Your Life Out, she says she’s never been happier but recognises that showbiz life can be precarious.

She said of her decluttering TV show: “The work I do now is the work that I absolutely adore. Sort Your Life Out is my actual dream – going into people’s homes to help and get involved.”

But she added: “All I know is nothing in this industry is guaranteed. You can’t work your way up then know you’ve got a job for the next 10 years.

“So my whole attitude has always been take it, enjoy it, work your socks off and see what happens.”

Stacey can't believe her luck in life (Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
Stacey appeared on the X Factor 14-years-ago (Ken McKay)

The 33-year-old reckons the ongoing financial crisis has made people hold on to even more stuff than usual, as they think they wouldn’t be able to afford it again if it were ever needed – something she is not immune to herself.

She said: “Trust me, I’m the biggest hoarder of them all. I can see myself in most of the people whose homes we go into. I see how they’ve got that way and how busy life is for them.”

Stacey was born in Dagenham, East London, to vicar’s daughter Fiona and father David, who is of Iraqi-Jewish and Polish-Jewish descent.

His parents had come to the UK with very little. She said: “My dad is from a background where he had nothing, like literally nothing, so we could have nothing again.

Stacey is trying to help people 'sort their lives out' on her show (BBC/Optomen/James Callum)

“Even to this day I think ‘well, we’re comfortable now but something’s going to go wrong at some point, it won’t stay like this forever’. It’s inherent.

“So you’re constantly thinking ‘I’d better hold on to that and I’d better not waste that’ because in a few months’ time I could be on the streets.

“It’s that fear, passed down from generations. And a lot of people have that fear.”

In the show she and the team of expert organisers, DIY-ers and cleaners have seven days to change the living conditions of families overwhelmed with belongings they need to part with.

The team including Iwan Carrington, Stacey, Dilly Carter and Rob Bent kick off by laying out all the possessions in a warehouse. In one extreme case, they discover more than £1,000 in the chaos.

Sort Your Life Out returns on January 26, BBC1, 9pm (BBC/Optomen TV/James Stack)

Loose Women star Stacey, pregnant with her fifth child, said of hoarding: “We need to convince people that there are better ways of saving money, because using up that space doesn’t do you any favours.

“There’s a sense of urgency this year. It feels like, because of the cost of living crisis, it’s more essential to be regimented, to be organised and to not waste money at all.”

Even TV star couple Stacey and her husband Joe Swash have worried about the escalating energy bills.

She said: “If we’re having those conversations, it’s happening on a much more scary scale for so many people.” In this series she meets people struggling for reasons including ADHD, comfort-buying and bereavement.

One woman could no longer see her six grandchildren because her home was so stuffed with possessions that they couldn’t get in.

Stacey is expecting her fifth child (INSTAGRAM)
The star announced her secret pregnancy last month (@staceysolomon/Instagram)

Stacey remains non-judgemental. Having seen how a dad with ADHD had left unfinished projects all over the place, she realised some of her own family had the same traits.

This dad’s home was the one where the team found small sums of cash and cheques totalling around £1,000.

Stacey said: “It was down the back of the sofa and in the pockets of clothes they hadn’t seen in ages because they were piled up in the wardrobe. The clutter was losing them money, literally.”

Another bunch who got under her skin were a family from London who’d moved away to Nottingham, where they had no support network.

They had four children and the mum was also guardian to her far younger brother, following the tragic death of their mother.

Stacey said: “My heart went out to her because I have the same number of children that she has but I couldn’t do it without my mum, my dad, my sister and Joe’s family to call upon.

“She just had so much to deal with and no family around to help. And when they moved to Nottingham they were the only Black family on their road, so they often felt quite isolated anyway.” It made Stacey realise how lucky she was to have support.

Stacey and former EastEnder Joe, 40, finally tied the knot last year after seven years together.

They moved into their £1.2million Essex “forever home” Pickle Cottage last March but still rely on the wider family for help with their two children together, Rex, three and Rose, 15 months, as well Stacey’s children from previous relationships, Zachary and Leighton. Stacey is also stepmum to Joe’s son Harry, 15, from a previous relationship.

Stacey said: “Our biggest privilege is our families and the fact that they’re always around. I couldn’t have a job without them. We live on a kibbutz basically, where everyone chips in.”

Zach, 14, is a big help too, Stacey says. She added: “He will go to school by himself and looks after the other kids too. I’m so grateful... he’s incredible, he’s such a gorgeous boy.”

The Loose Women presenter is now trying to teach Zach and his 10-year-old brother Leighton the value of money, by giving them Go Henry children’s debit cards and allowing them to keep the proceeds made from car boot sales. But she reckons schools could do more to help.

She said: “I know we all need the basics of maths but life maths would be so much more practical for kids.

“If I knew about APR, mortgages, what it meant to own my own company, VAT, all these sorts of things, I’d have found the transition into my working life so much easier. It would be more valuable than coming out of school knowing Pythagoras’ theorem.”

If children are going to do maths until they’re 18 under Rishi Sunak ’s plans, it’s not a bad idea.

Sort Your Life Out, January 25, BBC1, 9pm

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