Girl band Atomic Kitten burst onto the pop scene with their infectious personalities, but Kerry Katona, Natasha Hamilton and Liz McClarnon admit that the claws were out from the very beginning.
Talking about the first time she met Natasha, Kerry says, “I didn’t like her (Natasha). (I thought) this was my band, ‘Who the hell does this sixteen year old girl think she is coming under my roof criticisng my dance routines. Sorry I’m just not working with her.’”
Natasha adds, “From day dot there was drama. I think I pushed her (Kerry’s) nose out a little bit. “
But, after their initial hiccup Kerry and Natasha soon became close.
Natasha confirms, “Me and Kerry did become really close friends she was like my big sister.“
Kerry adds, “Liz was the one who’d go to bed early and be the good girl, while me and Tash were like, ‘Let’s go out partying.’ (We were) causing trouble.”
Liz reveals, “Tash and my relationship, it was like that sister that you didn’t really see much unless you kind of had to. “
Tash admits, “I used to get annoyed with Liz because Liz never had a yes or no opinion.”
Liz reveals one particular incident with Natasha, she says, “Tash was always very tough, very straight down the line and I was always very sensitive. We had a massive gig in GAY once and she just turned round to me and said, ‘You didn’t do that step right on stage.’”
Natasaha confesses, “I said, ‘Why did you do that? We said you wouldn’t do that.’ It got more and more angry to a point where we were literally screaming at each other.”
Liz then adds, “She just launched at me. You know when you go, ‘What the hell just happened?’”
Kerry’s likeability and infamous personal life catapulted her into the spotlight. Having bagged a popstar boyfriend, Westlife’s Brian McFadden, the pressures of being in a girlband were beginning to take its toll.
Kerry recalls one incident with Liz, “I rang the tour manager and said can I bring Brian (McFadden) with us. We picked Tash up then went to pick Liz up, but Liz had her younger brother Joe with her.
Liz continues, “I didn’t know she (Kerry) was bringing Brian with her for the day, I’d cleared it with the tour manager that I could bring my little brother. As Brian was already in the car the main thing was that Joe was not going to be able to get in the car so that really, really, really annoyed me…I hit her.”
Kerry continues, “Well that was it I undid my seatbelt, I’ve gone for her. I kicked her out the car. I said, ‘Drive off.’ I left her in the street. I was screaming, I was so angry. (After that) I used to make her get changed in the in the toilets. On stage, I’d stamp on her foot.”
Natasha, adds, “That fight really ruined their relationship. It didn’t end on a good note for them at all.”
But after discovering she was pregnant, Kerry left the band and the remaining members were joined by Jenny Frost. Soon after, their single ‘Whole Again’ went to number one and catapulted the girls into pop stardom.
Success continued, with their second single Eternal Flame also reaching number one, but cracks begin to surface again as Liz struggled to cope with a self-confessed lack of confidence, whilst Natasha suffered post natal depression after the birth of son Josh.
Liz adds, “With the success comes the people that don’t like you for someone like me, that gets hard. A 100 people could say ‘you’re fabulous’ but one could say ‘you’re rubbish’ and I would crumble.”
After the birth of her son Natasha said, “I wasn’t feeling confident in myself and my body. When you come back into a band where the other girls are preened perfectly looking amazing (whilst I was) coming back feeling a bit battered and bruised.”
A tearful Natasha continues, “It was a lot of pressure to put on me, to have a baby and to be expected to kind of cut my tie so quickly. One of things to help me get through it was talking to the record label and saying, ‘Look I’m missing my son so much can we work out something where he can come along with me? I’ve asked my mum she said she’d be his nanny.’”
“I thought him being on the road with us with solve all my problems and in fact it made it ten times worse. I was always doing something and I could see him in the corner of my eye, he was playing with my mum and I used to think, ‘I should be doing that I’m his mum.’ He’d fall over and run to my mum and I was like, ‘I want him to run to me.’ I just wanted someone to say ‘What’s wrong?’ And no one ever did, not for a long time.
“(It took) Nine months of being back at work before someone said to me, ‘You’ve got post natal depression.’ Up until that point I thought I was going mental. I just pulled the girls into the room and said, ‘I’m leaving and that’s it, I’m not well.’ They just hated me. My decision to leave the band ended their career and I know they were bitter. I remember saying to my mum, ‘Mum I wish I was dead.’ And I meant it.“
With the original line up back together for the first time since 2001, Liz admits her reservations.
Liz says, “I think it could be very easy for us to fall back into old relationships, I wouldn’t say I’m scared about that, I’d say I’m petrified about it.
Kerry adds, “My personal life took over from what I was actually good at and what I actually enjoyed doing. I feel like I’ve done a full circle. I started my career in the industry being a popstar and I’ve been through hell and back since then. I think people actually forget I was in Atomic Kitten.”
The Big Reunion continues tonight, 9PM, ITV2..