Few people would have been surprised that Hollywood came calling and snapped up the rights to Katie Piper’s memoir.

After all, she is a woman whose outstanding courage in the face of adversity has inspired people worldwide.

Four years after selling the rights to her autobiography Beautiful, Katie’s inspiring story is edging ever closer to the silver screen.

The star, 37, is spending hours at a time on Zoom calls with the screenwriter as the script comes together.

“These productions can sometimes take years... especially in a Covid world,” she says. “But it is happening and I can’t wait. I would love Reese Witherspoon to play me. She would be perfect.”

Actress Reese Witherspoon (

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Getty Images)

Katie hugs daughter Penelope

Katie’s delight that the project is moving forward is tempered by the sheer scale of research involved in ensuring the script is spot on.

“It’s difficult,” she says. “I mean I underestimated how much it takes.

I’ve had to go through lots of old records and transcripts from the past, to get sort of factual accuracy.”

There’s no doubt that going over the past – and the events of the book – must be tough. After all she has been able to put her 2008 acid attack behind her and carve out an amazing career, including her job on the Loose Women panel.

Katie in role as Songs of Praise host (

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UGC)

But she sees the film as a way to frame her story in a different light.

“The way everyone came to know me was through a news story,” she says, “but I think there’s an opportunity for it to be something very new, in this new culture, this Me Too culture, the Time’s Up culture.

“Obviously my story does involve violence against women but I think it could be very empowering for a female audience.”

Katie is fast becoming one of the most sought-after stars in showbusiness.

As well as a blossoming TV career which also includes presenting Songs of Praise, she wrote several more books after her memoir, as well as hosting an award-winning podcast.

But ask what she sees as her biggest accomplishment, and the answer remains the same.

Katie was “euphoric” after setting up a burns rehabilitation centre near St Helens in Merseyside two years ago.

It was opened by Simon Cowell, who is the patron of her Katie Piper Foundation charity which helps fund it.

Star with husband Richard (

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WireImage)

It’s been a lifeline for the thousands of people passing through its doors giving them the sort of support that Katie wishes she had back in 2008.

But like many charities during the pandemic, donations have dramatically dried up and Katie admits: “We are slightly in the red now.”

Speaking for the first time about the financial challenges, she says: “ I feel so stressed talking about it. We had a trustee meeting yesterday on Zoom, and everyone was trying to think of ways to raise money. I was like, ‘I don’t know.’”

It comes as demand for her rehab centre – the only one of its kind in the UK – is at an all-time high.

Heartbreakingly, she says lots of people have come forward who have burned themselves on purpose, or self-harmed, because of the stress of the pandemic.

Worryingly, there have also been “a lot more accidents” because of hand gel.

“You think, people are rubbing flammable alcohol all up their forearms, all over their hands,” she says.

She says she has even had to “tell my own family off” about the issue, including her husband Richard, with whom she has two daughters, Belle, seven, and Penelope, three.

“I’ve seen my husband do it before touching all the meat on the barbecue and I’ve had to say, “Go and wash. Go and wash it off, that’s a flammable liquid all over your skin,” says Katie.

Thankfully, the centre can offer in-person treatment again after having to close during the Covid crisis and move all its psychotherapy, counselling, or physiotherapy online.

“If you have a facial disfigurement, particularly in the really early days, people like that aren’t comfortable with looking at themselves for a long time on Zoom,” she says.

“Some people don’t like having therapy in that way either, they find it intense or they don’t find the connection personal enough.”

Katie has also teamed up with Aviva to launch a free online teaching academy (

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Katie Wilson)

It’s easy to see why TV controllers jumped at the chance to snap Katie up. Articulate, intelligent and with an infectious sense of humour, she was in many respects the perfect person for Loose Women.

“I felt really at home on the panel straight away,” she says. “Nadia Sawalha, I’ve done quite a few shows with her, she’s really lovely. Linda Robson, that was quite amazing for me because I grew up watching Birds Of A Feather.”

She jokes: “You’re sort of sat there thinking, ‘Oh, my god, it’s Tracey,’ but you can’t really say that.”

But it was her presenting Songs of Praise that really caught the public’s imagination, not least as it was relatively unexpected.

And Katie admits she was apprehensive before the job was revealed to the world, not least as religion can be quite a divisive subject. “When I first became a Christian I didn’t really talk about it,” she says.

“I put it in my autobiography, but it wasn’t a big feature, and I didn’t put it online or anything like that.

“And I was quite nervous about revealing it, because it could alienate some people, and I did lose some followers actually, when I did make that announcement, and I did have some people challenge me.”

What did they say? “They were people that had faced adversity, who were still angry about that,” she recalls. “They were asking ‘Why me? Why does this happen if there’s a god?’

“I certainly wouldn’t want to preach to people... they need to come to their own findings.”

Among Katie’s many projects, she has also teamed up with Aviva to launch a free online teaching academy that trains people to defeat indecision and move forward in their lives.

She is certainly well qualified to be a part of it.

“I always remember, 10, 11 years ago, my mum and dad were a bit, sort of anti-me doing the foundation,” she explains. “They said, ‘Well, you don’t have experience in the corporate world, as well as the third sector.’

“They were really worried about me doing it, and I was worried too, but I had this life experience, and I had this passion, and I had this gut instinct.”

Of that, there is no doubt...

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