Penny Lancaster, 49, who married Rod Stewart, 75, in 2007, said being physically and verbally bullied in her younger years has had a lasting effect on her. The Loose Women star added the heartbreaking years of torment has made her more confident and has also encouraged her to speak openly about bullying with the couple’s two sons Alistair, 14, and nine-year-old Aiden.
Reflecting on being bullied in her school years, she revealed: “I didn’t know if someone was going to be waiting for me on my journey to school or on my way home, at playtime or at lunch; there was always this build-up of anxiety and fear.
She added: “The bullying was both verbal and physical and I don’t know what’s worse.
“People always say sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me, but I kind of disagree with that.
“They torment you and it goes round and round in your head like a bad song. It sticks with you and can really affect you long term.”
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Penny said the bullying lasted for five years in secondary school and said she was often picked on about her height and appearance, which left her “self-conscious”.
The mother-of-two added she was often branded “posh” by fellow schoolchildren and claims she “didn’t fit in”.
Recalling one incident, Penny said she went home from school “bleeding” after bullies pushed their bikes into her legs.
Nowadays, Rod’s wife said she believes “ignorance” is the best way to deal with bullies as she admitted going through the ordeal had made her a stronger person.
Penny, from Chelmsford Essex, recently signed up as a special constable after taking part in Channel 4’s Famous and Fighting Crime.
During filming for the show, she showcased her bravery after she was confronted by a drug dealer who threatened to stab her.
She also lent her support to victims affected by crimes.
Speaking on Instagram with her ex Strictly Come Dancing partner Ian Waite in June, she said of the role: “It was terrifying but I never felt more comfortable in a position and I felt like this is where I was supposed to be.”