Frank Bruno credits new girlfriend with helping him out of mental health problems
Troubled former 'Heavyweight Champion of the World' Frank Bruno has spoken movingly for the first time about how he is beating his mental demons with the help of his new girlfriend.
The 50-year-old said that hairdresser Nina Colletta is a "kindred soul" who has given him a lifeline of support for the past year.
As he continues the "biggest battle of his life", Bruno tells how it isn't medicine or medics who have shown him the way out of hell - it's 47-year-old Nina's companionship.
"Nina is a good girl," the Mirror quoted Bruno as saying.
"She has helped more than she could ever realise. I need her as a rock more than she needs me.
"This year she has helped me get out of the tunnel and get back on my feet," he said.
Frank met Nina around February and began his first serious relationship since he divorced wife Laura in 2001.
His touching love story comes a few days after his revelations about how he was recently sectioned twice against his will with bipolar disorder.
"Things are going really well at the moment and I just hope they carry on like that," he said.
"We met at a friend's wedding in Glasgow. I was standing talking to some people and she rode up on her Kawasaki motorbike, took off her helmet and flicked her hair. I liked her straight away and we clicked from the start.
"I met her son and he said I was allowed to take his mother out, which was important to me.
"Now she is like a soulmate. We have a good laugh, she likes running and we go jogging together and #65533; she looks after herself and I like that in her.
"She has her own salon business and I am really proud of her. She is a good woman, intelligent, smart. She senses if I am having a bad day and helps me to stay on a level.
"But I sense if she is having a bad day too. That's women for you though isn't it and #65533; know what I mean?" he said,
Whenever he is talks about Nina, his face and demeanour immediately change. It's clear she has become a rock to him and despite the fact she lives 300 miles away in Glasgow and #65533; they see each other most weeks.
In fact, since meeting Nina, Bruno has been spending more and more time at her home in the tough working-class Gorbals area of Glasgow.
Her modern fourth-floor flat has become a second home to Frank and provided a retreat in his ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. Residents have got used to his distinctive red Bentley car, with personalised number plates, being parked in the street.
His visits there often lead to an outpouring of messages on Twitter from disbelieving locals and #65533; but Frank doesn't have the slightest concerns about being seen out and about there.
"It is a tough area but who am I?" he said.
"If Nina lived in a tent in the middle of the park then I would go and see here there, it doesn't bother me.
"The people in Glasgow treat me so nicely. They stop me and say: 'Hello, Big Man.' I like it up there, but it isn't home and #65533; my home is still down here and it always will be," he added.
When Nina isn't around, Frank finds most peace in his battle with mental illness in the gym. Despite quitting the ring in 1996, he still trains every day.
In rehab he was doing 4,000 press-ups a day to keep fit and to try and take his mind off being locked away.