November 29, 2022

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Bake Off’s Candice Brown opens up about crippling anxiety battle after being diagnosed with ADHD


GREAT British Bake Off star Candice Brown has opened up about her battle with anxiety after being diagnosed with ADHD.

The 36-year-old star has admitted to suffering a “difficult, horrible year” after being diagnosed with the mental health disorder, enduring a heartbreaking split from her husband, and seeing her pub business devastated by the pandemic.

Candice has opened up about her anxiety and ADHD battle


Candice has opened up about her anxiety and ADHD battleCredit: Getty – Contributor

Candice shot to fame after winning Bake Off in 2016, but has struggled emotionally since – which she bravely reflects on in new book Happy Cooking, out now.

In the book, the TV favourite opens up about living with severe anxiety, explaining: “One of my first indicators of anxiety is my hands; I wring my hands, I fiddle with my rings, I tap and fidget even more than usual.

“I have to be doing something all the time — my attention span is bad at the best of times, but if I’m feeling anxious then the need to be busy is through the roof.

“Having recently been diagnosed with ADHD, a lot of this makes sense, as I just cannot sit still.

The star's pub business was impacted by the pandemic


The star’s pub business was impacted by the pandemicCredit: Andrew Styczynski – The Sun
She's bravely opened up after a difficult couple of years


She’s bravely opened up after a difficult couple of yearsCredit: Getty

“My family and friends call me the Bumble Bee as I buzz around doing everything, but not actually doing much.

“I also get things done, just in my own time and way, often doing several other things along the way and having to be reminded to stay on task!

“So much at the moment brings on anxiety, whether it is worry, panic, not sleeping enough, intrusive thoughts or just the pressures of day-to-day life.

“This is something I have always spoken about — the calming feel and touch of food. Using my hands to create and take me to that happy place.”

Candice won Bake Off in 2016


Candice won Bake Off in 2016

Elsewhere, Candice bravely admits “mental health has nearly broken me”, adding: “I am laying myself bare, talking about things I’ve not really spoken about and quite frankly I am terrified.”


Almost 16million people watched as Candice lifted the Bake Off crown back on the BBC before the show’s move to Channel 4, but her life became incredibly harder shortly after.

She first started dating husband Liam Macauly, who has worked as a tree surgeon, in 2014 and they tied the knot in a secret ceremony in the South of France in October 2018.

But last summer it was revealed they had split up and he had moved out of their flat above her Green Man pub in Eversholt, Beds.

She split from husband Liam last summer


She split from husband Liam last summerCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The star opens up in her new book


The star opens up in her new bookCredit: Ebury Press

As lockdown restrictions hit pubs particularly hard, she was left with just £416 in her business account, all while struggling to make meals single-handedly for the pub’s food delivery service – though it was cooking that helped get her through a tough time mentally.

In her book, she writes: “My mental health is something I hadn’t really spoken about until fairly recently, but it is something I’ve been battling with for quite a few years.

“I have had days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, I’ve cancelled plans, not spoken to family and friends and felt completely useless.

What is ADHD?

The ADHD Foundation reveals that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is one of the most common childhood conditions.

While symptoms are typically noticed during childhood, they can continue through into adult life.The charity explains that ADHD can be diagnosed in three different categories.

These are predominantly inattentive type, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type and combined inattention and hyperactive impulsive type.

The NHS lists symptoms as…

  • Inattentiveness
  • having a short attention span and being easily distracted
  • making careless mistakes – for example, in schoolwork
  • appearing forgetful or losing things
  • being unable to stick at tasks that are tedious or time-consuming
  • appearing to be unable to listen to or carry out instructions
  • constantly changing activity or task
  • having difficulty organising tasks
  • Hyperactivity and impulsiveness
  • being unable to sit still, especially in calm or quiet surroundings
  • constantly fidgeting
  • being unable to concentrate on tasks
  • excessive physical movement
  • excessive talking
  • acting without thinking
  • interrupting conversations
  • little or no sense of danger
  • mood swings, irritability and a quick temper
Bake Off’s Candice Brown enjoys boozy day at the beach with friends after split from husband

“But I have also accomplished things I never thought possible — and probably other people never thought possible — and that is because I found something I love.

“Cooking at home puts me in my comfort zone and cooking outside my kitchen pushes me out of my comfort zone too, which is a good thing.

“I cook and bake when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m bored, anxious or fidgety — which I now know is sometimes down to my ADHD — when that dark cloud surrounds me like a thick, heavy burden and I have no idea why. It’s my place.

“Cooking has got me through some proper s**t times, and it continues to do so.”

  • Happy Cooking: Easy uplifting meals and comforting treats, by Candice Brown (£16.55, Ebury Press) is out today