Sarah Ferguson opens up on ‘Bad Fergie’ in interview about her new book and mental health

Sarah Ferguson has spoken up about her mental health saying, 'I was very deeply scarred and insecure'

Sarah Ferguson
(Image credit: Ian Gavan / Staff / Getty)

Sarah Ferguson has opened up about mental health, being a grandmother and her relationship with her daughters as she reflects on her past as 'Bad Fergie.' 


In an interview with Hello!, Sarah, the Duchess of York, has spoken about the name 'Bad Fergie,' a nickname she was given by the press.

"I was very deeply scarred and insecure," Sarah said. "For a period of time, I had no idea who I was. I got married to the most wonderful man—it was the happiest day of my life, I adored getting married, and it was such a love story and he's such a good man. But then in about September 1988, it started to change."

Sarah Ferguson

(Image credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon / Getty Images)

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's second daughter Princess Eugenie was born in August 1988. The Princess was just six weeks old when her parents went on a royal tour of Australia without her.

This was a move that was highly criticized by the tabloids and began Sarah's difficult relationship with the British press.

"'Bad Fergie' sold a lot of papers, but the worst thing about that was I believed every word of it. So every time somebody said something nasty, I believed it, because I was so sensitive and insecure and so I couldn't come to terms with who this person was," said Sarah. 

She revealed that she's been in therapy for the last 24 years of her life. Meaning that she began therapy in 1997, just a year after she and Prince Andrew announced in 1996 that they had mutually decided to divorce.

The Duchess said, "I did have and still have mental health issues, which I work at literally every day, I really do, and I have been in therapy for 24 years."

"Sometimes I talk to my therapist on a weekly basis, and then sometimes, when it gets really tough, I jump in and get a quick hit of trying to understand the negativity of the demons of my mind."

"There are shadows, of course, for anyone that is as creative as I am. The shadow is very dark, because the light is very light. But that's the whole package of Sarah—and it's what made me write the book and talk to you today," she revealed.

Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson in 1997

(Image credit: Thierry Orban / Contributor / Getty Images)

She also opened up about her relationship with her daughters now and described them as a 'tripod.' 

She has dedicated her book to them with the message, "to my beautiful girls, who have all the strength and courage of Lady Margaret, and so much more, and who have not waited until they are 61 years old to follow their hearts and to live life on their own terms".

Her daughter, Princess Eugenie, is a mother to her young son August Philip, and her eldest Princess Beatrice is pregnant with her first child.

Sarah spoke about Eugenie's parenting skills saying, "baby August is phenomenal and he is a very strong little chap. But really, I'm very proud of my daughter Eugenie, and Jack because they are very good parents and for any new young parents out there, it's very challenging isn't it?"

She also talked about her relationship with her grandson, "My energy is what he seems to love, yeah because he just thinks I'm very funny."

And claimed motherhood was "the best job I'd ever done." She spoke also about Beatrice's pregnancy, referring to it as a dream, saying "I am the luckiest person."

Princess Eugenie of York,Duchess of York,Sarah Ferguson Art Antiques Fair at Kensington Gardens

(Image credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Her Heart For a Compass is Sarah's newest novel written with Mills & Boon author Marguerite Kaye and based the protagonist of the book, Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, the Duchess's real-life great-great-aunt.

She also confirmed the romantic historical novel is not based on her own life, "I think everyone will see the parallels [with Lady Margaret]: she's a redhead, she makes her own way in life, she rides horses, she's headstrong."

"But ultimately this is a work of fiction: I hope people won't read too much into it. It has been an opportunity to tell a story of self-discovery and a chance to feel closer to my past."

The Duchess of York's book is set to be released on Tuesday 3rd August 2021. 

Laura Harman
Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty and fashion news, and her favourite stories to cover as anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found baking, hiking with her dog, shopping, and practicing yoga.