Jennifer Zamparelli has admitted she fears bullies will target her children, after she had her “head kicked in” at school.
During her appearance on Deirdre O’Kane Talks Funny tonight on RTÉ One, the TV presenter opens up about being bullied as a young child in primary school.
Jennifer says: “It’s one of those things that I look back now and I’ve let it go, you know, and it’s awful because so many people go through it.”
“And one thing about bullies is they don’t discriminate. They could pick on anybody…”
“I had a duffel coat on in the playground that she [the bully] didn’t like and that was it, you know, I was getting my head kicked in at the school gate most days.”
“And really, I talk a good talk, but I hate a scrap. I do. So that was difficult. I’ll never forget that feeling of being in the school bathroom and just being terrified to leave.”
“And that’s my biggest fear with the young one and the young fella [her children], is I never want them to go through that…”
“I never want them to do that to anybody else, I think that would even be worse for me, and I’m really conscious of it.”
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“It’s funny because the person in question was such a big influence on me as a kid, but I meant nothing to her,” she continued.
“That was proved years later when I had my first job cleaning toilets in a hotel and she worked there, and she didn’t recognise me. I nearly fell to the floor when I saw her, but she didn’t remember who I was.”
“So I was so irrelevant to her, but she was so relevant to my primary school experience. So when I think back to primary school, I just think of her.”
During her chat with Deirdre, Jennifer also admitted she “lost her mind” when she turned 40 earlier this year – and started seeing a psychotherapist.
Jennifer explained: “I absolutely lost my mind turning 40. It was April, we were at start of pandemic. I started having panic attacks, and started asking myself really big questions…”
“You’re faced with your mortality when you’re in a pandemic I think, and it was just crazy.”
“It was unlike any other milestone. I really struggled, selfishly I did, I went to see a psychotherapist and just talked.”
Deirdre O’Kane Talks Funny airs tonight at 9.55pm on RTÉ One.