AXED CBeebies presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell claims her former ‘best mate’ Justin Fletcher ‘froze her out’ over her topless photoshoot.
Sarah-Jane, 47, first began hosting CBeebies shows like Higgledy House and Mighty Mites in 2002, alongside co-star Justin Fletcher, AKA Mr Tumble.
Sarah-Jane Honeywell landed her dream job at the BBC in 2002Credit: BBC
The mum-of-two was over the moon after landing her dream job, saying: “It was the job of my dreams.
“I had so much fun every day, just trying to make kids laugh.”
She took part in a promo campaign for the animal rights charity, which saw her posing topless on a huge plate of food in London’s Trafalgar Square.
But her career came crashing down after she posed topless for PETACredit: Sarah Jane Honeywell.
“At the time, I was on a filming break from CBeebies, so didn’t think I needed to clear it with them. It was just a bit of fun – and I wasn’t even paid to do it,” she said.
But the resulting photo caused a stir, and when further shots of her wearing a skimpy vest and pouring Diet Coke over her boobs appeared in the press, she discovered she’d been sacked.
“The BBC was asked to comment on the pictures, and they simply said I no longer worked for them. That was how I found out.
Sarah-Jane says she never heard from co-star Justin Fletcher, AKA Mr Tumble, after her topless snaps surfaced Credit: Sarah Jane Honeywell.
“There was never a phone call or a single conversation with my bosses – despite me having worked there for 10 years. I was completely devastated that the career I loved was over,” she said.
Adding insult to injury, Sarah-Jane claims her former ‘best mate’, Mr Tumble, aka Justin Fletcher, also cut contact.
She says her co-star froze her out, saying: “I called and left him a message but to this day he’s never responded.
“We were the best of mates, so that really hurt. I do understand it though, because as a children’s presenter he needs to protect his own image.”
Sarah-Jane fell into depression and debt, and had to move back in with her parents Credit: Sarah Jane Honeywell.
As work dried up, Sarah-Jane fell into debt and over the next three years, racked up £100,000 on her credit card.
She revealed: “I had to move into my parents’ garage, and was at my wits end. I woke up most days feeling like I couldn’t breathe.”
She was also vilified over a story which reported her occasional use of cocaine in her youth – well before her TV days.
“I basically spoke out to warn kids not to do drugs, but it led to more people sticking the knife in,” she explained.
But her life turned around in 2013, when she met her future husband, former Hollyoaks actor Ayden Callaghan, 39, on the set of a minor British film.
She met her now-husband in 2013, and the pair went on to get married and have two children Credit: Sarah Jane Honeywell.
The pair got engaged the following year, but Sarah-Jane still wasn’t able to shake off her past, as trolls attacked her online.
After getting the sack a Facebook group called ‘I hate Sarah-Jane Honeywell’ popped up, and after her engagement announcement, the trolls pounced again.
“I’m seven years older than Ayden, and his fans on social media called me a skanky old druggie, questioning why he was with me. It was hateful,” she said.
Sarah-Jane now lives in Lincoln, and runs the Curious Theatre SchoolCredit: Sarah Jane Honeywell.
She hit rock bottom in 2015, the same year she fell pregnant, and confessed she had suicidal thoughts, but her unborn child saved her.
Sarah-Jane recalled her darkest hour, saying: “As I stood on the platform, I felt really dizzy and my legs were shaking. I had a really strong compulsion to jump in front of an oncoming train.
“It was that kind of urge you sometimes get with vertigo, and I thought that if I jumped, all the pain would stop.
“I wasn’t thinking logically about the effect it would have on Ayden or my family – I just wanted to stop feeling as if my heart was being ripped out.”
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Her and Ayden’s first son, Phoenix, now five, was born in August 2015, and the pair married in September 2016.
She praised him, saying: “Ayden is amazing, and was such a rock throughout everything. He helped me clear my debts, and put up with all the times I was a total psychopath. I definitely wouldn’t have survived without him.”
In January 2018, they welcomed the arrival of their second son, Indiana, now three.
The family live in Lincoln, where Sarah-Jane runs the Curious Theatre School.
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