I’ve shown grime pays but there's been a dark side to fame, says Mrs Hinch

HER staggering Instagram success made her a millionaire, with brand endorsements, a lucrative book deal and legions of fans around the world.

But fame has come at a high price for cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch, who has battled a series of secret heartaches.

Attacked by internet trolls, Sophie Hinchliffe, the 30-year-old real woman behind that Insta persona, is now taking antidepressants to cope.

In her bestselling memoir This Is Me, out last month, she writes: “These people have almost destroyed me and the fact that I am on medication for depression and anxiety for the first time in my life is largely down to what they have put me through.”

The mum of one has also struggled to come to terms with how quickly life changed when she went from anonymous housewife from Maldon, Essex, to global “cleanfluencer”, amassing nearly four million followers in just two years.

Her ever-growing band of fans, nicknamed Hinchers, hang on her every word and love getting glimpses into her family life, along with enjoying her advice, sense of humour and “All the best” catchphrase.

The products she promotes, such as Zoflora and Minky cloths, fly off the shelves. Millions tune in to watch her clean a toilet, while her grey-and-chrome home has provided inspiration for countless interiors across the country.

Company accounts show her Mrs Hinch brand pulled in £2.1million in the year to April thanks to sponsored posts, brand partnerships and a deal with publisher Penguin that has seen her release four books.

Not bad for a working-class girl who was bullied at school and dropped out of the sixth form.

But as well as the trolling, longstanding insecurities over her appearance have worsened with life in the spotlight.

She has suffered complications from the weight-loss surgery she underwent in her early twenties.

And she hit breaking point after giving birth to son Ronnie in 2019, coming close to developing postnatal depression.

Sophie — who became best friends with telly presenter Stacey Solomon, 31, after the Loose Women star reached out last summer when they both had young babies — details her turmoil in This Is Me.

She aims to keep her Instagram an uplifting place and many of her Hinchers see the community she has created as a lifeline.

‘TEARS, STRESS & SLEEPLESS NIGHTS’

But Sophie opens up in the memoir about the often troubling reality behind the scenes.

In it, she describes “the dark and completely devastating” side to becoming Insta-famous, which has caused her “so many tears, stress and sleepless nights”.

Sophie says she has been pushed to the limit by relentless internet bullies, who attack her looks and lifestyle, picking apart everything she posts.

She details the daily deluge of abusive messages to her inbox and the sustained hate campaigns on trashing forums that exist “only to ridicule, torment and abuse”.

Some sickening attacks have even focused on 17-month-old Ronnie.

Sophie powerfully writes: “They attack the way he looks, criticise his development and all sorts of other twisted, spiteful things I can’t even bring myself to repeat.

“I will never ever understand people picking on a tiny, defenceless baby.”

The effects of the trolling came to a head around last Christmas when a stream of abuse and body-shaming triggered a panic attack she reveals “felt like I was dying”.

It took Sophie days to recover and she knew she had to speak to a doctor about the toll it was having on her mental health. Her GP prescribed medication she says helps her “keep things on more of an even keel”.

But she still frequently grapples with her anxiety.

Many of her Hinchers suffer too and, like Sophie, use cleaning as a way of managing it.

Sophie’s “rock” has been her husband Jamie.

BODY ANXIETIES

They met eight years ago while working at the same London-based recruitment company and married in August 2018.

Jamie, 42, gave up work last year as her influencing career took off.

She writes: “He’s a brilliant emotional support for me. He is my wingman in what has become an absolute machine and I need him now more than ever.”

Sophie also credits Jamie’s love with helping her overcome some of the body anxieties that have plagued her since a teenager.

Standing 5ft 10in tall, Sophie was always horribly conscious of her height and when she started to gain weight after leaving school, she became crippled by low self-esteem.

By the age of 21 she weighed more than 17st, was “desperately unhappy” and finding each day a struggle.

She tried various diets and slimming clubs but nothing worked.
In despair, she took out a £6,000 bank loan and booked herself in for private gastric band surgery.

But although the band helped her lose weight, she has endured a series of complications — some of them life-threatening — over the ten years since.

Sophie writes: “If I had known what problems this band would cause me in the future, I would never have done it.”

Within a year of the surgery Sophie was down to 12st.

But then the band slipped and wedged in her oesophagus. Coughing up blood, she was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.

Further surgery to remove excess skin from her arms following the weight loss left her with an internal infection.

'FEAR I'D LOSE MY ARM'

She writes: “There was a very real fear that I might lose my left arm. What a mess. All because of this bloody band! My poor body.”

While pregnant with Ronnie, the band caused a blockage and she dropped to 8st 5lb. Seven months into the pregnancy, she needed an operation to move it.

But having a baby helped Sophie gain a new perspective. She writes: “I grew a baby.

“I went through labour to bring him into the world and then I nourished him with my milk.

“That’s what my body did. My body is perfect because it made Ronnie and he is nothing short of a miracle.”

At the heart of the Mrs Hinch story is a normal woman, wife and mother who has been thrust into the limelight.

She turns down every red-carpet invite and still does her shopping at Morrisons and Poundstretcher.

There is a huge part of her that wishes she could go back to being plain old Sophie Hinchliffe.

“I’m the worst person for this Instagram thing to have happened to,” she jokes.

“If I’ve learned one thing through this whole experience, it’s to treasure the simple life and hold on to it as tight as you can.”

  • Mrs Hinch: This Is Me, is out now.

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