TWO years ago, Ferne McCann’s life was plunged into hell when the father of her six-week-old daughter was jailed for 20 years for a horrific acid attack.
She was left to bring up tiny Sunday alone as her ex-fiancé Arthur Collins festered in jail.
Today, the former Towie star tells how she has finally found love again with a new mystery man — but insists she is taking it steady.
Ferne, 29, says: “There is someone new. It’s still very much in the background and that’s the way I’d like to keep it.
“I want to enjoy it privately and see where it goes, because I feel like whenever I started to see someone in the past, I’ve said, ‘I’m seeing someone, it’s going great’, then it fizzles out.
“So I’m enjoying dating but I won’t be spending Christmas with him. I’ll be with my friends and family.”
On wanting to add to her family, she adds: “It’s too soon now but it’s 100 per cent something I’m thinking about. I’d love to have more children and be married and live happily ever after. It’s definitely something I will look forward to.”
Ferne’s daughter Sunday Skye, two, had only recently been born when Collins, then 25, was caged in December 2017 for a “despicable” acid attack on a group of revellers at an East London nightclub.
It happened in April that year and he was soon arrested after going on the run.
The Sun on Sunday told two days after he was captured that Ferne was pregnant by Collins.
The attack left 14 innocent people with burns and severe mental scars.
Traumatised and heart broken, Ferne at the time described Sunday as her “saving grace”.
After taking her once to visit her dad in prison, she told Collins it would be the last time he would see either of them.
Now Ferne acknowledges she made mistakes in getting together with Collins in the first place.
She says: “Sunday takes after me. Pre-baby I definitely wasted a whole lot of time, but having a two-year old keeps me very, very busy.
“As I’ve got older I know the people I want to spend my time with.
“Sunday’s so kind and sociable and she gets that from me, I guess. She’s just a very happy, joyous and loving little girl. All my friends say she reminds them of me.”
Initially, Ferne found life on her own with a tiny baby a struggle.
She says: “I didn’t like the way I was labelled. Everyone was saying, ‘Oooh single parent Ferne McCann’ and, at that point, I hadn’t come to terms with it all.
“It wasn’t until I started living as a single parent and being the sole provider that I realised how rewarding the experience is.
"Now I wouldn’t have it any other way. To start with, it was a challenge balancing work and having a newborn baby.
"But I’ve found my feet now and it’s all cool.
"Sunday is amazing. She’s my absolute world.
"Of course it’s tough being on your own, but it’s all I’ve ever known and I’ve just taken motherhood in my stride.
“ I wasn’t overly maternal to start off but I didn’t have any expectations and I’ve just loved every single minute so far, even the tantrums.
“But I’ve had a lot of help. I like the saying, ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’, and it’s very much the case with Sunday.
"She’s got a lot of unofficial aunties and uncles.”
Ferne dated former Towie co-star Charlie Sims for six years until 2015.
Her next serious boyfriend was Collins, a former scaffolder from Broxbourne, Herts.
They split following a holiday in Ibiza but later rekindled their romance.
They broke up again when he was arrested over the sickening acid attack.
In September this year, Ferne dated Love Island’s Jordan Hames briefly and they were spotted kissing at a London cocktail bar.
The fling ended soon after.
Now she is focused on Sunday.
Ferne told how how her daughter celebrated her second birthday last month with a Disney princess-themed party.
And despite the tot’s angelic looks, she is just as feisty as her mother.
Ferne says: “You look at her beautiful little face and think she’s an angel, but the tiniest things can set her off.
"It could be the wrong cutlery or you’ve cut up her food the wrong way.
"I try to ignore it. I calm her down and soothe her emotions.
"It’s normal frustrations for that age. She’s a very good girl really.
“She comes everywhere with me, even to Japan for a job recently, and she’s started having little conversations now.
“She’s very sociable. She’ll say hello to everybody and seems to be very knowing. I love talking to her. Most of the time it’s just me and her at home, she’s the main person I talk to.”
Ferne, who has teamed up with TalkTalk TV to help people simplify their lives by sharing her time-saving, life tips, turns 30 next year.
And she is not scared of the milestone. She says: “I’m really looking forward to it. I want to throw a big birthday party.”
One thing she insists she won’t be doing is going under the knife again to maintain her youthful looks.
Ferne says: “Ageing is on my mind, especially with Instagram and it being so easy to compare yourself to others.
“I had a nose job years ago because that was a major insecurity I’d had my whole life. But I’m not planning anything else. It’s not such a big deal now.”
And she won’t be losing sleep about the online trolls who used to plague her either.
“I’ve learnt to cope with it. Now it’s about surrounding myself with people that support, love and care about me, rather than listening to keyboard warriors.”
Ferne's ex files
FERNE was with ex-TOWIE star Charlie Sims for six years until they split in 2015.
She later met Arthur Collins, a former scaffolder, from Herts.
They split in April 2017, when he was arrested for an acid attack.
She was pregnant with Sunday, now two.
In September, Ferne kissed Love Island’s Jordan Hames.
But the fling ended soon after.
She is now dating again.