ALISON Hammond can't hear the word 'elephant' without being triggered after years of intense bullying.
The This Morning star, 46, opened up on how the word gives her “heart palpitations” and she almost even had a panic attack when she saw one of the animals on safari.
“It may sound crazy but whenever I hear the word ‘elephant’, it takes me back to being at school and the nasty comments the boys used to make about me," Alison told the Mirror.
“When I hear someone say ‘elephant’, I instantly think they must be talking about me.
“Anything to do with elephants sets it off. I remember it happening when I was on safari once.
“Some elephants came into view and I had heart palpitations because I was worried that someone was going to say, ‘Alison, look! An elephant, like you’.”
Her PTSD from her school bullies is so intense she once thought Queen's Brian May was having a dig at her in public.
“We didn’t notice a band coming onstage to perform – we were too busy gossiping," she said of her and friend Kate Lawler.
“Suddenly, Brian May said, ‘We’re trying to listen and I can’t hear a word of the singing. Could you keep your noise down?’
“We stopped talking. But you know when you’ve been told off and you’re a bit giggly? ‘Oh, my gosh, we just got told off by Brian May from Queen!’
“Things got worse when the band left the stage. Brian May got up to make a speech and started off by saying, ‘Now, there’s an elephant in the room, isn’t there?’”
She thought the guitarist was referring to her.
“I had a full-on panic he was going to start embarrassing me in front of everybody.” In fact, the rocker was referring to something completely different," Alison revealed.
“‘Of course I wasn’t talking about you!’ he said. ‘I just really wanted to hear the singers and you were too loud’.
“I’m not sure what lesson I took away from that day, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who lives with PTSD dating back to their schooldays.”
Alison's school bullies are probably eating their words after her career has gone from strength to strength since finding fame on Big Brother.
She has just joined celebrities including Stacey Solomon and Jacqueline Jossa to have hugely successful collections with popular fashion brand, In The Style.
Alison signed her six-figure deal earlier this month and was unveiled as In The Style’s latest big celebrity collaboration.
A source said: “Alison is one of the most recognisable faces – and voices – on telly and In The Style snapped her up as quickly as they could.
“She is fronting their ‘Voice of the People’ range and the collection will showcase styles loved by Alison.
“Alison adores fashion and jumped at the chance to be involved with In The Style.
“She scored a six-figure deal to work with them and has taken great pride in curating her collection.”
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