Kerry Katona's third husband "threatened to rape her and her mum".

Kerry Katona

Kerry Katona

The former Atomic Kitten singer - who has Molly, 19, and Lilly-Sue, 18 with first husband Brian McFadden, Heidi, 14, and Maxwell, 13, with former spouse Mark Croft, and seven-year-old DJ with the late George Kay - felt a huge sense of "shame" at being a victim of domestic abuse during her relationship with George, who died from an overdose in 2019, two years after they split but admitted she found it "impossible" to end their marriage.

Speaking to Ulrika Jonsson for The Sun newspaper, she said: “It’s so hard to leave. It’s impossible. Anyone who knows, knows."

And Ulrika noted: "Kerry documents his physical abuse without much emotion. Constant beatings, coercive control, degradation, threats...

"She recalls the times he would be covering up the bruises on her body with make-up ahead of public appearances.

"For Kerry, the worst part was her oldest daughter having to witness George’s treatment of her. The sense of shame was overwhelming.

"George’s mental health deteriorated and his need of drugs increased. At one point, he threatened to rape her and her mum and harm their daughter. Kerry was forced to hide herself and her daughter in a cupboard."

But the 40-year-old singer insisted she was rather George physically attacked her than spat in her face.

She said: "The worst thing he did was spit in my face.

“I got to the point where I would rather take a good beating than have him spit in my face.”

Kerry is still shocked about George's death at the age of just 39.

She said: “I still can’t believe he’s dead.

“He told me he would never leave me, not even in death."

Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry accused Brian of being unfaithful "numerous times" and had "nothing positive" to say about Mark, but she believed her own troubled childhood left her desperate for a "perfect family set-up".

She said: “I was in and out of foster care. Worked as a lapdancer. I was doing drugs at 14 and when Atomic Kitten broke up I went back to live with my mum and the drugs started all over again, because if you lie down with dogs you’re going to get fleas.

“There was always a little girl inside me wanting someone to look after me, but I realise now that I’m the only one who can look after me...

I didn’t stop to realise how much my kids loved me. It wasn’t so much that they needed a dad, it was me craving that nuclear family.

“But marriages aren’t families. And the failures made me want to try again.”

Kerry has now found love with fiance Ryan Mahoney and thinks things are different this time round.

She said: “The balance of power lies with me. I interviewed him on our first date. I wanted to make sure he was going to be suitable for me and my life."