Nicola Roberts says having therapy has been the "best gift" she has ever given herself and has helped her overcome her stalker hell.
The former Girls Aloud singer dated former soldier Carl Davies for 18 months before splitting from him in 2008 and after they broke up he embarked on a campaign of harassment which included sending her 3,000 offensive and threatening messages, some of which stated he was going to stab and burn her.
The 34-year-old pop star admits the five years of abuse she received from Davies - who was eventually issued a lifetime restraining order in 2017 and handed a 15-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he began messaging Nicola's friend, R&B singer Joel Compass breaking his order - took a "massive toll" on her mental health but after having 12 months of trauma therapy she feels reborn.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, she said: "Prior to this year, I'd say I had five of the unhappiest years of my life. Just really tough emotionally. It took a massive toll on my life. I had a few heartbreaks along the way. I was kind of ground down ... It got to a point where I was compartmentalising everything ... the box just got full. I was like, 'I don't want this to affect me any more' - it is my responsibility to make me happy ... We opened all the boxes. I feel like it's just changed me in the most amazing way, forever."
Although she is now in a great place in her life, Nicola wishes that she never had to live in such fear in the past.
She added: "I feel sad that it happened to me. But I feel like it led me to do therapy and the therapy has been the best thing I could ever have done for myself. It's honestly just changed me so much, and I'm so thankful for that.
"Equally, you know, I don't want this to read that I'm thankful for that period of time, because I'm definitely not. [But without therapy] I wouldn't have got to this place, who I am now. I'm calm. I'm confident again. I'm excited."
Nicola is focused on her career and will be starring in the West End production of the musical 'City of Angels', which opens in March, and although she is single she is open to dating.
However, the 'Call The Shots' hitmaker is no longer prepared to put up with behaviour that in the past she may have tolerated from a man, and that's because of the confidence her therapist has given her.
She said: "I was a fixer. It means that you take all the red flags that pop up extremely seriously and you turn around and walk the other way, straight away. Things that maybe you would tolerate before, or things that you would [explain away and] be like, 'Oh, you know, it's because they're...
"I have been too unhappy and I am now so happy - I will never let anything disrupt that. So unless you are continuing with me in this happy, peaceful state, you're not getting near me. I don't like the feeling of being unhappy. I don't like the feeling of being unsure about myself, or uncertain with where something's going - I would rather turn away. I just can't feel like that ever again. It's just horrible."