Kerry Katona, 40, has been on more roller coasters financially than a week at Alton Towers.
As a founding member of chart toppers Atomic Kitten and a winner of I’m A Celebrity… she has made millions – but also been declared bankrupt twice. Now Kerry is back in the green and fighting fit.
After finding true love on a dating app, Kerry Katona and her fiancé, Ryan Mahoney have worked with the UK developer of online dating solutions Appmi to launch their own new dating app, Marnii, to provide singletons with a safe and secure platform to find long-term relationships.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Yes. I have worked since the age of 14. I came from poverty and grew up in a foster home. But money scares me because of the bankruptcy. When I had money, all I did was spend it on other people.
I made a lot of mistakes with it. Going through bankruptcy is the saving grace on dealing with money. Now I’m in the green with everything.
What did you spend your money on before the bankruptcy?
I bought loads of cars. I’d never been in debt until my bankruptcy. I lived in a lovely house and I could afford it. People have the impression I blew all my money but it got stolen.
The medication I was on was so high I was so dopey. I was too trusting. I did Big Brother, then went straight back into bankruptcy.
It has taken me until 40 to be in full control of what is coming in and going out. When I lost everything, there was many a time when I thought I would be better off dead.
What have you learnt from setting up this app?
We’ve [with fiancé Ryan] set up a few business ventures lately. We are entrepreneurs now. I have learnt that hard work pays off.
What is the key to staying motivated?
It’s a leap of faith, but I don’t want to regret not doing it. I have struggled for so many years but I’ve worked my arse off to get it all back. I think a lot of people would think ‘who would go to Kerry Katona for love advice?’
I’m good at failing [in love] but I do deserve to be loved. We shouldn’t give up on love and that’s what the app represents: keeping trying. If I gave up every time I got knocked down, I’d probably be dead.
The one thing that people can’t knock me for is resilience. And that’s what I want people to be inspired by. I’ve been through addiction, mental health, I’m a widow – if Kerry Katona can get through it then anyone can.
What is the key to financial success in your opinion?
Ryan: I firmly believe that even if you have a setback then it is about mindset, staying positive and not losing track of your goals, it’s the winning formula. You have to have goals and vision.
Kerry: Don’t promote something you don’t believe in, too.
What is the most extravagant thing you have ever splashed out on?
There have been so many back in the days when I was a millionaire. I bought Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins. It was always cars to me. I always used to buy new but now I’ve bought a second-hand SVR Range Rover, which makes more sense.
How has your attitude to money changed over the years in other ways?
I used to be so worried about money. I had to sell my jukebox once to pay my rent. I had been worrying about money for seven years, so it always scared me. I just buried my head in the sand.
I met Ryan and he got me a legit accountant and a whole weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
Was there anything good about bankruptcy?
When I lost the money all these little d***heads around me disappeared. People were just using me. I had so much money but I was miserable.
I learnt that the lesson is to surround yourself with people who you want to be like rather people who treat you badly.
What one thing do you regret buying?
I honestly don’t regret buying my cars or anything I bought, I can’t live with regrets. For so many years I lived with regret.
Are you a spender or a saver these days?
I have splashed out a lot more than I normally do recently. Acrylic nails used to make me feel guilty but lately I’ve got rid of a lot of my clothes to charity, so I can buy a few more. I still panic a bit with money.
What would you buy, money no object?
Our own house because I have been renting for years. We are looking into Florida because we fancy something warm.
What was the last thing you checked the price on?
The car – the SVR. We are suckers for bargains.
What is more important than money?
Love. Happiness. It doesn’t matter how much money you have – I had millions and I wasn’t happy. Love and happiness is true wealth. But money helps.
Find out more at marnii.com.