Former supermodel Rachel Hunter has spoken for the first time about her lengthy battle with health problems following the break-up of her relationship with fiancé Jarret Stoll.
Now, with her health fully restored and looking more beautiful than ever, 43-year-old Rachel reveals how she suffered a potentially life-threatening heart problem two years ago.
Rachel was diagnosed with inflammation of the heart in July 2010 and spent four days in hospital in New York.
"I had a cold and I just felt out of breath and a little bit weird," she tells HELLO!.
"I went to a friend and said, 'Look, you need to take me to the emergency room.'
"I was diagnosed with myocarditis and pericarditis, which can happen when you have the flu. If you are exercising and you've got a really bad flu, it really can be a very quiet killer."
No sooner had she recovered, though, than she was back in hospital with a severe back problem – two slipped discs.
Fortunately, surgery was successful. Just a year earlier in May 2009, she'd been left devastated after Jarret, a Canadian ice-hockey player 13 years her junior, called off their engagement just six weeks before they were due to wed.
"When Jarret made the decision to... for us to split up the engagement and stuff, that set off a rollercoaster of emotions for me," Rachel explains.
"And it's very hard: your self-esteem, your pride. I actually didn't realise at the time that it affected me as much as it did."
But as she adds now: "He was right in the decision he made, as hard as that was for me to realise then."
Rachel was herself only 20 when she first met rocker Rod Stewart, 24 years her senior. They married in 1990 but divorced 16 years later.
She says of her split with Jarret: "Maybe it was my... coming full circle.
But honestly, what was I thinking? He's so much younger. And it happened for the right reasons."
The New Zealand-born actress and reality TV star, who has two children, Liam, now 18, and Renee, 20, by Rod, says she is open to finding love again.
"I think it's a matter of just meeting the right person," she tells HELLO!.
"I love men. I think they are amazing."
She is also once again focused on her career, spending the next four months in her homeland as a judge on New Zealand's Got Talent.
"After the show, I just want to see what happens. I would love to do some work back in England again," she says.