This Morning star Alison Hammond, 45, had no idea of the path to fame that lay ahead of her when she entered the Big Brother house back in 2002.
An instant favourite with viewers, the Birmingham contestant only lasted for 15 days but has continued to become more and more successful ever since.
Now having bagged the coveted job of presenting daytime ITV show This Morning with her pal Dermot O’Leary every Friday morning, Alison’s career continues to go from strength to strength.
But behind the scenes, the fan-favourite has been experiencing heartbreak at every turn, from going through family loss to heartache in her personal life.
The always bubbly presenter is known for taking things in her stride, even when faced with unimaginable loss.
She has been juggling parenting her teenage son Aiden while losing her mum Maria and her dad Clifford.
And she’s also coped with two pivotal break-ups from ex-fiance Jamie Savage and then Ben Kusi who she met on Celebs Go Dating last year.
What happened with Alison’s exes?
The 45-year-old star found love with security guard Jamie Savage in 2014, after they met online.
The pair were together for three years and even got engaged, but in a heartbreaking chat with OK! Magazine, Alison broke the news they’d called off the wedding.
The devastated showbiz reporter admitted she felt like it was "the worst news ever" and she was "gutted".
"You never know, we might get back together, but I'm not feeling it at the minute," she said sadly. "I don't think I want anyone else now, I feel really sad."
But despite feeling down, Alison added cheerily: "I’m going to have to eat a lot of chocolate to cheer me up!"
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A couple of years later the star decided to bounce back in her love life by taking a punt at Celebs Go Dating, where she met Ben.
Despite sparks flying for the couple on the show, it’s thought Alison is back to being single once more.
Alison hasn’t hidden her desire to get married and complete her family, and one of her main requirements in a partner is a willingness to become a father figure for her son Aiden.
"I would love to get married,” she told Woman’s Own. "I’d love to walk down the aisle in a big, white dress and have the fairy-tale wedding. I love being in love; I am a different person when I am. My heart sings – it’s amazing."
The star also said she looks for kind, funny and driven men, and insists they need to be "passionate for life".
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Tragic loss of her mum
Alison and her sister Saunra suffered a heartbreaking loss in 2020 when their mum Maria died of cancer.
The presenter confirmed her beloved mum lost her battle with liver and lung cancer on her Instagram in February, sharing a series of images in tribute to the formidable woman.
The 45-year-old laid her mum to rest in a private family funeral, writing to her followers: "Today I dedicate Valentine’s Day to my beautiful, wonderful Mother Maria who passed away from liver and lung cancer.
"Yesterday my family and I celebrated her amazing life and laid her to rest in a beautiful ceremony she would have been proud of.
"Thank you mummy for giving me the strength to move forward in the knowledge that your ok and with God in Heaven now,” Alison continued. “I will always remember you and try and make you proud. I love you mum."
Also sharing her grief on Twitter, the star posted: "RIP my best friend and Living Angel please come to my dreams."
The presenter’s colleagues came out in full force to support their friend and colleague, including all the This Morning team.
Holly Willoughby said she was sending her co-worker "so much love", and Ruth Langsford posted: "Sad to hear that darling….sending you love & a huge hug."
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Following her mum’s death, Alison gradually began posting pictures as she fought to come to terms with her grief, including one of Maria while she was receiving treatment in hospital.
The presenter has spoken in the past of how she close she was with her mother, who is originally from Guyana, and how every Christmas was an important family gathering.
Alison admitted she enjoys her lie-ins too much to take the food prep on Christmas Day seriously, and often opted instead to let her mum run the ship.
"I'll be honest, I just do the vegetables and gravy because I can't be bothered. My mum gets up at like 2am to cook a turkey. It's crazy. I'm not doing that. I need my beauty sleep!" the star told OK! in 2019.
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Losing dad months later
Alison lost her father Clifford Hammond only four months after her mum Maria died.
In a heart-wrenching post on Instagram last year, she revealed her devastation after learning he’d passed away.
Sadly, the news got got worse as due to the coronavirus pandemic Alison wasn’t able to go to her beloved dad’s funeral in Jamaica.
The TV personality admitted she hadn’t been as close to her dad and hadn’t been able to spend much time with him, but the tragedy was still incredibly difficult to come to terms with.
Posting a picture of her dad, Alison told her fans: "This is my real Dad Clifford Hammond who passed away last week in Jamaica.
"I’m saddened that I won’t be able to make his funeral and saddened that he wasn’t part of my life as much as I would have liked but I still have a sense of loss and emptiness,"she continued.
"Sleep well Daddy, love leaves a memory no one can steal. RIP."
Alison’s bravery and determination to stay happy and bubbly has shown no bounds over the last few years, and the star continues to focusing on her budding career.
The new This Morning presenter will come full circle as she’s reunited with former Big Brother’s Little Brother host Dermot later this year.
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