Ulrika Jonsson says end of her last marriage was ‘devastating’
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Ulrika Jonsson, 54, has admitted her daughter Bo’s 21st birthday has “crept up on her like no other” after doctors “could only hope she would live into her teens”. Despite doctors’ fears, Bo, who Ulrika describes as her “miracle baby”, is set to celebrate her milestone birthday on November 9.
Bo was born with CHD – congenital heart disease – which was diagnosed at the mum-of-four’s five-month anomaly scan.
The former Gladiators presenter reflected on the heartbreaking experiences she dealt with after Bo was born, including “saying goodbye to her before open-heart surgeries and signing consent forms acknowledging risk”.
Ulrika admitted in her latest column: “I know they say about kids growing up that you’ll blink and miss it.
“And while it’s been a hard slog with this one, this birthday has crept up on me like no other.”
The star added: “At the time I was told the doctors just didn’t know if she would survive surgeries and, if she did, they could only hope she would live into her teens.
“She has surpassed my and many people’s expectations.
“There were long, hard times when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, when the task of keeping her alive seemed insurmountable, when I felt I would falter and could not go on.”
Ulrika went on to thank kind strangers who had sent her letters and words of encouragement when she was struggling with her daughter’s tragic health issues, after speaking about her newborn in the media.
The Swedish-British model wrote in The Sun: “I can say with my hand on my reasonably shaped heart, that without that exposure and without that positive contact from families, parents and children who took the trouble to share their stories with me – who took the trouble to put pen to paper and impart their experiences – I seriously don’t know if I would have made it through.
“And if I hadn’t made it, perhaps my girl would not be turning 21 next week.
“I am here and Bo is here to give hope to those experiencing similar things.”
Ulrika previously shared a heartbreaking picture of her daughter Bo after undergoing open-heart surgery as a baby.
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Bo was born with a double inlet left ventricle defect, a congenital defect that affects the valves and chambers of the heart.
In her Instagram post from September, Ulrika revealed that it was 20 years ago to the day that Bo had undergone heart surgery to treat her condition.
In view of her 172,000 followers, the Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins star posted the throwback photo.
She wrote: “GRAPHIC CONTENT:
“2nd pic is Bo on this day 20yrs ago.
“PICU day after her first open-heart surgery,” she added, before adding the hashtags, “#911 #chd”.
In the picture of her daughter in the paediatric intensive care unit, Bo could be seen with a large, red scar running down her chest, as well as multiple tubes coming out of her body.
Ulrika also posted a sweet black and white snap of her and her daughter pulling funny faces at the camera.
Ulrika shares a son, Cameron, 27, with cameraman John Turnbull, her daughter, Bo, 21, with German hotel manager Markus Kempen, a daughter named Martha, 17, with TV show contestant Lance Gerrard-Wright, and her youngest son, Malcolm, 13, who she welcomed in 2008 with Brian Monet.
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