Gregg Wallace encourages fellow survivors of child abuse to speak out

Masterchef presenter Gregg Wallace has spoken up about being sexually abused when he was eight years old and encouraged fellow survivors of child abuse to do the same.

Speaking to Tom Bryant on the Mirror’s Men in Mind podcast, in association with mental health charity Mind, Wallace, 58, revealed that he was sexually assaulted by a babysitter’s husband.

“I didn’t tell anybody at the time, but I did tell my mum when I was older, but she didn’t really seem to want to know,” he said before going on to recall further details.

“I can see me as a young boy and I can see him and I can smell him. It wasn’t nice.

“I don’t know how that affected me. I’ve never brought that up in therapy, so I’ve got no idea. But he would touch me and get me to touch him and kiss me as well. It was quite a horrendous situation for a young boy.”

Wallace said that it is imperative that anyone listening who is a victim of a similar crime speak out and tell someone.

“If by chance a young person is listening to this, it’s not your fault,” he said. “Please, just get out there and tell somebody.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, Wallace spoke about the importance of speaking openly about one’s mental health.

“We have gone well past the stage where there’s any stigma about talking about these things,” he added. “If you are suffering at all, go and get help.”

Wallace went on to discuss how his anxiety skyrocketed while appearing on Strictly Come Dancing nine years ago.

“I was having a really tough time. I was really, really stressed… so badly that the side of my face broke out into a rash, like cold sores,” he said, adding that show bosses had been so concerned about his situation that they urged him to call a therapist.

“I was due to do the dance that night. I called her up and said, ‘Are you free? Can you come and help me?’ She jumped in the car, came into my dressing room and had me in floods of tears. But I went out and danced.”

Wallace went on to explain how being in the public eye has affected his mental wellbeing.

“I used to not be able to go on holiday without getting anxiety attacks,” he confessed. “I had to go to my hotel room and not come out and try to plan things… what my life was going to be like and how I was going.”

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here.

If you are a child and you need help because something has happened to you, you can call the NSPCC free of charge on 0800 1111. You can also call the NSPCC if you are an adult and you are worried about a child, on 0808 800 5000. The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (Napac) offers support for adults on 0808 801 0331.

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