Gemma Collins has opened up on how her relationship with James 'Arg' Argent caused her and her family a lot of distress.

The former TOWIE personalities dated on and off pair for nine years and throughout their relationship they endured several ups and downs - mainly due to James battling his drug and alcohol addiction issues.

And now Gemma, 40, has spoken frankly about how she had to step away from James as "addiction is a very serious illness" before adding that before long things became "really distressing" for her as well as her family as they were all "powerless" to help the reality TV star.

Gemma offered advice to her fans as she chatted away on her podcast The Gemma Collins Podcast and told that she can share her experience as she's "got the T-shirt" of being in love with someone who struggles with booze and drugs.

"This is going to sound harsh but it is something I have dealt with in my life," she began.

Gemma Collins
Gemma Collins has shared that her relationship with James 'Arg' Argent was "distressing"

"As much as you love them, they really need help and addiction is a very serious illness.

"I am going to tell you now, if you carry on like this things are going to get very out of control and you are going to end up in a really distressing situation.

"I can speak from my heart on this one because I have been there.

"People do get the right help, people do work on the steps."

Sharing how she knew that Arg - who has admitted to being a heavy user of cocaine for seven years - needed help that she could not provide, she continued: "I've been where you are, you want to help and you believe them but once cocaine and addiction grabs hold of someone, you are powerless to do it.

Gemma Collins and James Argent
The TOWIE stars dated on and off for several years

"You are not the professional, I've been there myself and it's going to really break your heart.

"I've seen it, I've been there, I've got the T-shirt and I found it too distressing and impacting on my own life."

Sharing how James' issues took a toll on her family, as well as her, she continued: "I have been in this position myself, it will destroy lives, it will rip through your family, it will rip through your friendship groups, it is a really awful situation.

"I look back now and I did it from love but it really can break your heart in the end."

Arg quit drink and drugs after hitting a low point on his birthday in December 2019 when he was admitted to hospital.

In January he celebrated 12 months of sobriety and revealed he had been given a special anniversary keyring by his Cocaine

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Gemma Collins and James Argent
The pair split last year

Last year, Gemma decided to end her romance with James after it emerged that he sent Gemma a string of texts in which he branded her a "fat f**k" and a "hippo".

Reports later emerged that the final straw for the GC was when Arg reportedly asked for an open relationship.

In February, it was said that Gemma managed to forgive Arg's behaviour and they're giving things another go.

A source told The Sun : "They are spending every waking moment together.

"James has supported Gemma through some tough times in these last few months and she's doing the same with him with his battle with sobriety and his weight.

"They're not shouting about it like they've done previously but they are inseparable right now and are properly an item again.

"They’re talking about their future together - marriage, kids, the lot."

*Frank offers confidential advice about drugs and addiction (email [email protected], message 82111 or call 0300 123 6600) or the NHS has information about getting help.