Inside Katie Piper's inspirational recovery from devastating acid attack to 'chaotic' family life

Katie Piper has gone from strength to strength, despite having her world turned upside down when she was just 24 years old.

The presenter, now 40, was attacked with sulphuric acid in 2008 by her then-boyfriend, who left her with major damage to her face and caused her to go blind in one eye, causing her to need pioneering surgery.

Katie suffered life-changing burns, injuries and blindness in one eye after being attacked with acid in 2008. Katie underwent pioneering surgery to restore her face and vision, but has faced many complications since, including becoming alcohol dependent following the devastating acid attack.

Katie Piper's star is rising
Katie Piper's star is rising -Credit:Getty Images
Katie has shared pictures from the aftermath of the acid attack
Katie has shared pictures from the aftermath of the acid attack -Credit:katiepiper_/Instagram

The model told the Mirror: "Without meaning to, I started relying on alcohol to numb the exhaustion and get me through the days. I knew I needed to find a better way to handle the pressure. Especially when a friend said, 'Wow, you drink a lot.'

"I noticed a pattern of feeling: 'Oh, I want a drink.' Some of the people close to me told me I was so different when I was drunk. I would get like that a couple of times a week. I knew it wasn’t healthy."

The model then went on to have 10 counselling sessions to overcome her reliance on drinking.

Katie before the attack
Katie before the attack -Credit:PA

Only recently, Katie underwent tarsorrhaphy surgery to her left eye, which joins parts or all of the upper and lower eyelids to completely close the eye. Katie said at the time of the procedure, which is used to help or heal the cornea: "In my case I am trying to preserve the eye, avoid perforation and loosing my eye completely."

Katie added at the time: "Also, if this helps anyone else…. yes I do sometimes find it hard. I’m ok with looking different to everyone else but operations can sometimes take me back to memories of how this all started and that’s hard mentally."

Appearing on Loose Women for the first time since the procedure, host Kaye Adams said: "Hello stranger! First of all, Katie, we haven't seen you for what, five or six weeks?"

Katie then explained why she had been absent, discussing her recent procedure. She said: "I had a planned procedure done called tarsorrhaphy, which is a semi-permanent closure of the eye. It's an operation done in theatre and your eye is fully or partially stitched up.

Katie had her eye stitched up
Katie had her eye stitched up -Credit:Instagram

"Some people might be familiar with it, you normally see it when somebody has disease of the cornea. Closing the eye gives it the optimum environment to heal so I've had quite a lot of problems with my eye over the last year and a half. I don't like to go on about it because there's always somebody worse off!"

To which Kaye, 60, insisted: "You know what Katie, you never go on about anything! That's the incredible thing about you, you're just so stoic! It's incredible!" Katie added: "It's been quite painful so it's quite a relief for me to finally have it stitched up because it's a lot more comfortable! It's not permanent, it's going to be for just about a year like this then hopefully I can have it opened!"

Talking about how she first coped after the surgery, Katie said: "It was a bit like being pregnant because you feel a bit dizzy and nauseous. It's difficult when the other eye is trying to operate. It does tug a bit but that does subside and then you get used to it. I had the operation a month ago now, so I'm actually okay, I'm still wearing a six-inch high heel!"

Katie Piper recently underwent further surgery on her eye
Katie Piper recently underwent further surgery on her eye -Credit:Instagram/katie Piper

The star then spoke about how she has had to be conscious of her health and protect it from such a young age. She said: "I suppose I did experience both of my eyes being damaged at quite a young age. So I always feel really grateful and happy that I'm here, seeing all these lovely people!"

In September 2022, Katie underwent emergency surgery after her husband noticed a black circle in her blind eye, which turned out to be a hole.

Katie took to her Twitter page to share the news as she posted a snap of herself with her eye bandaged up before explaining: "Emergency Operation for me! On Saturday my husband noticed a small black circle in my blind eye, I was excited thinking I had a pupil again, but by Sunday my left eye was extremely painful and couldn’t tolerate light, so I patched it up and put it down to old injuries."

Katie married Richard in 2015
Katie married Richard in 2015 -Credit:Instagram

Admitting that she's used to a certain level of discomfort, she still went into work. However, things took a turn for the worse by Sunday night as she felt nausea and was in "extreme pain".

She decided to consult her eye specialist, Sheraz Daya, who confirmed "the black circle was a hole in my eye and the eye had perforated". "This had always been a fear that it would happen. Yesterday @SherazDaya sourced tissue for me and operated," she added.

Sharing her gratitude, she continued: "I cannot thank him and his team enough, their knowledge and expertise but also how kind and caring they all are.

Katie is still dealing with medical issues years on from her attack
Katie is still dealing with medical issues years on from her attack -Credit:Instagram/Katie Piper

"There maybe some evil people in this world but there are also some pretty incredible people doing amazing things for people on a daily basis.@SherazDaya. Huge thank you team @SherazDaya @CentreforSight You are the best!" followed by a praying hands emoji.

Charity founder Katie married her husband Richard Sutton, who recently celebrated his 40th birthday, in November 2015. The couple have been together since 2013 after they were set up by a mutual friend, and a year later Richard popped the question.

Speaking about the early days of their relationship, Katie previously told MailOnline: "Richard was chatty, witty and looked me squarely in the eye. He never once mentioned my burns, and because he didn't, I didn't either." She added: "He didn't even stare at them, so I didn't feel self-conscious. He had me relaxed and buzzing with confidence."

The couple went on to welcome two daughters - Belle, 10, and Penelope, six. Announcing the birth of Penelope in 2017, Katie shared a touching picture of her baby's hand in her own posted onto her Instagram account.

Katie keeps her daughters out of the limelight
Katie keeps her daughters out of the limelight -Credit:Katie Piper/ Instagram

Katie seemed to suggest they were done having children as she said: "We’ve been blessed with the safe arrival of a baby girl. Our family is now complete."

Katie is busy running her charity, the Katie Piper Foundation, and keeping up with her hectic schedule of television work, including her Loose Women commitments, documentaries and weekend magazine programme, Katie Piper’s Breakfast Show.

Speaking about what her home life looks like and how she juggles everything Katie told OK!: “I don’t, it’s always absolute chaos. We juggle like everyone else and there are often times we forget stuff. But even that chaos is a privilege, because there are many people who are desperate to have a family and it doesn’t happen, so I try not to moan about it.”

In recent years, Katie has released a string of memoirs including a self-help book titled Things Get Better: If You Believe Then you Will Survive.

Last month, she unveiled her latest project and beamed as she spoke about becoming a children's author with the release of All You Need – 13 years after releasing her first book.

The star has been an advocate for reading, literacy and books for several years after discovering that literacy amongst six-year-olds across the country has declined in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic.