ANDREA McLean has revealed that she is rarely in contact with her Loose Women co-stars after quitting the show two years ago.
The presenter, 53, said quitting Loose Women after 13 years to pursue other projects was the best decision she's ever made, despite fearing she'd be unable to pay her bills and would lose her "identity".
Since leaving the popular ITV chat show in 2020, Andrea admitted she struggles to stay in contact with her former co-stars as she focuses on her new venture.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Andrea said: "I stay in contact with some of the Loose Women ladies, in the same way that I only get to talk to some when I was there – but not hugely.
"Mainly because I'm busy, working and doing my thing.
"Brenda and I message, Denise, Linda Robson, Saira.
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"I was rubbish keeping in touch when I was there and I'm just as rubbish now.
"But what's nice it doesn't matter because with your real friends it doesn't matter if you haven't seen each other for years."
The mum-of-two has always been known for her pristine image on TV, but Andrea made the surprising confession about her choice of footwear on the daytime show.
"Everyone always thought that I was this lady that wore heels and a tight dress," Andrea told us.
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"I wore slippers the whole time, I used to carry my shoes around and nine times out of ten, I'd take them off under the desk and either have my slippers – so don't believe everything you see on the TV.
"When I did the weather, I was only seen from the waist up and only had slippers on, sometimes I'd have painted my toenails and go on with bits of cotton wool in between and be standing there doing the weather looking immaculate from the waist up."
In an open chat, TV favourite Andrea admitted her biggest fear would be not taking the opportunities life handed to her.
Discussing the life-changing reason she quit Loose Women, Andrea said: "I was nervous about leaving Loose women as anyone who has become known for doing something, whether you're a bank manager or a footballer, that's your identity.
"Then it becomes, who am I, if I am not this.
"I was worried as this was a job I had done for so long, who am I if I'm not this thing.
"I sat down with myself and thought there is more to me than just my job and thought about what I really wanted to do.
"I am just a nice lady who has always wanted to help people and I thought how I could make this my work."
She continued: "I was nervous about leaving, in terms of the identity, in terms of paying the bills, but when you're too scared to make a decision because you're so scared of what might go wrong and it paralyses you from doing anything.
"But once you know, you can breathe out. I call it the 'what if'
"What if I fall, what if I fly, what if it all goes wrong, what if everyone laughs at me, what if I lose all my money, what if I lose all of my friends.
"But if you can flip it and what if it all goes right, so for me I would urge anyone that is sitting on the fence to sit down and write your 'what if all goes wrong' list and flip it to 'what if it all goes right' and deep inside is the knowing."
I wore slippers the whole time, I used to carry my shoes around and nine times out of ten, I'd take them off under the desk.
The former weather presenter – who is now focusing on her website, This Girl Is On Fire, and her best-selling writing career, said that she is in a much better place now after experiencing her own mental health struggles where she felt "overwhelmed" and "stressed".
"I think it's important to discuss female issues because you can't take an experience of half of the population of the entire world will go through and that's hormone related, mental health related and no discuss it," she said at the Disney's 100th anniversary event.
"Just because that's how it was, doesn't mean we can't change it., look at the other parts of change in our lives."
Drawing on her own personal battles with anxiety, she said: "I've had my challenges with getting overwhelmed, I put a post about mental health and lots of people reached out and we just normalise the human experience.
"We are just humans having a normal experience – don't make one thing taboo, nothing is taboo.
"I feel great now, the biggest cause of stress is wanting things to be different to how they are, and I think once we recognise why we are stressed.
"Once you look that in the face and see what you can do about it, you can breathe out and feel like you're taking steps.
"Even if it's not a step that you see the results of straight away, it might be in a year's time.
"For me, I feel great, I am doing what I love, it's challenging, it's hard and I love it.
"A lot of people think Andrea McLean runs a female empowerment site, I don't. I just help women feel good about themselves and they can do with that anything they want to do, so I'm really excited and I love what I do."
In 2020, Andrea revealed how her battle with anxiety left her considering suicide.
At the time, Andrea said that she had been struggling with her anxiety for months unbeknown to her family and friends.
The TV star recalled breaking down in tears in a supermarket and then another time when she struggled to breathe after an argument with another driver.
She also admitted that her anxiety got so overwhelming that she couldn't bring herself to attend the NTAs with her Loose Women co-stars and instead arrived alone after crying on her way to the red carpet.
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In 2018, Andrea previously shared that she suffers from crippling panic attacks after going through the menopause.
The former Loose Women star opened up about the toll the change has had on her mental health in her book, Confessions of a Menopausal Woman.
Andrea wrote the book in a bid to help other women cope with the change their body – and minds – go through.
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