Sarah-Jane Honeywell had the world at her feet as a cheerful CBeebies TV presenter who was idolized by millions of young children.
After participating in a series of sexy photoshoots she was fired from the profession she loved. She spiralled into severe despair that nearly led to her suicide.
Mum-of-two Sarah-Jane, 47, and co-star Justin Fletcher, AKA Mr. Tumble, began hosting CBeebies programs including Higgledy House and Mighty Mites in 2002.
She describes it as “the work of my dreams.” “I had so much joy trying to make youngsters laugh every day.”
However, in November 2011, she posed topless on a large platter of food in London’s Trafalgar Square for a PETA promotional campaign.
“I was on a filming break from CBeebies at the time, so I didn’t believe I needed to approve anything with them,” she says. It was simply a little bit of fun – and I wasn’t even paid.”
However, the ensuing photo caused a sensation, and she was fired after further photos of her wearing a tight vest and pouring Diet Coke over her boobs appeared in the press.
“When the BBC was asked for a response on the photos, they simply stated that I was no longer employed by them. That’s how I learned about it.
“Despite working there for ten years, I never received a phone call or had a single chat with my supervisors.” I was heartbroken since my dream job had come to an end.”
Justin, Sarah-co-star, Jane’s froze her out as well. “I phoned and left a message for him, but he has never returned my call.
“That hurt a lot because we were the greatest of friends.” I understand, though, since he wants to protect his own image as a children’s presenter.”
Sarah-Jane was also subjected to internet harassment. “There was even a Facebook page dedicated to Sarah-Jane Honeywell called ‘I Hate Sarah-Jane Honeywell.’ Dads were often supportive, while mothers were cruel.”
She was also chastised for a piece that revealed her occasional usage of cocaine in her teens, long before her days on television.
“I essentially went out to warn students about the dangers of drugs, but it resulted in more individuals plunging the knife in.”
Sarah-Jane went into debt as work dried up, and over the following three years, she piled up £100,000 on her credit card.
“When contacted for comment on the photos, the BBC merely stated that I no longer worked for them. That’s how I learned about it.”
“I was at a loss for what to do when I had to relocate into my parents’ garage. I couldn’t breathe most of the time when I woke up.”
In early 2013, she met former Hollyoaks actor Ayden Callaghan, 39, on the set of a modest British film, which was a bright light. When the couple became engaged in late 2014, the trolling became much more intense.
“I’m seven years older than Ayden, and his social media admirers referred to me as a skanky old druggie, asking why he was with me. It was abhorrent.”
Sarah-Jane eventually struck rock bottom in March 2015.
“I was three months pregnant and had just stopped taking Prozac, which caused me to have terrible withdrawal symptoms. I was sobbing all of the time, even while I was sleeping.
“I’d go in the vehicle when Ayden was at work, drive somewhere, and cry for hours.”
She pondered ending it all one day while waiting for a train to Liverpool.
“I was dizzy and my legs were trembling as I stood on the platform. I felt compelled to run out in front of an approaching train. It was the type of desire you feel when you have vertigo, and I was convinced that if I jumped, the agony would go away.
“I wasn’t thinking about the consequences for Ayden or my family; all I wanted was to stop feeling like my heart was being ripped out.”
Sarah was dragged back from the brink by her pregnancy.
“It had only been a few days since I’d had a scan, and the notion of the baby inside me saved me,” she explains. “I walked home after sitting on a wall and calming myself down. I was in a lot of pain, but I resolved to get help and get better.”
Phoenix, her and Ayden’s first child, was born in August 2015, and the couple married in September 2016.
“Ayden is incredible and was a rock throughout the entire process. He helped me pay off my bills and put up with me when I was completely insane. Without him, I’m not sure I’d have made it.”
Indiana, their second son, was born in January 2018 and is now three years old.
Sarah-Jane manages the Curious Theatre School in Lincoln, where the family lives.
She also plans to start a nonprofit to assist disadvantaged children to attend theater school, and she hopes to return to television in the future.
“I’d want to do more acting or presenting – or compete in Dancing on Ice,” she says. Our children, on the other hand, do not watch CBeebies and are unaware that it exists!”
Sarah-Jane still thinks she was handled unfairly in an age of growing internet harassment and cancel culture, although the BBC failed to comment when contacted by The Sun.
Sarah-Jane says, “I don’t see why you might lose your job as a woman for posing in your underpants.” “How many male celebrities have mistreated their partners or used narcotics and are still on the air? If you’re a female in the public spotlight, the world may be cruel.”
Regardless, she has no regrets. “Looking back, I’m a lot wiser, and I’m finally happy.
“Even though I’ve made a lot of blunders for which I’m solely responsible, all that matters to me these days is my spouse and kids.”
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