Troubled star Arg today reveals how his mum pulled him through his dark days of cocaine addiction and food binges that saw him hit 27st.
The reality star says Patricia inspired him to turn his life around and tells how the crunch moment came when she admitted she no longer knew him.
Arg, who shot to fame on The Only Way Is Essex, admits: “My mum said to me, ‘I don’t recognise my son any more’ – and that really got me.
“It played on my mind and it was a big turning point for me wanting to change.”
On the advice of therapists, Patricia took a step back – which made Arg come to his senses.
He tackled his demons, had a gastric operation and has shed 13st.
And on Mother’s Day , Patricia describes her relief and joy as she tells the Sunday Mirror: “I have got my son back. I’m proud of him.
“It’s been one hell of a journey and it’s kind of brought us closer as a family. I’m not ashamed of anything.”
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The pair spoke candidly as they sat on the sofa at Patricia’s Essex home – five doors down from Arg’s place.
Arg – full name James Argent and loved by TV fans as a hapless romeo – says: “My mum means the world to me. We’re obviously very, very close.
“The reason why I bought a house five doors down is, obviously, I feel safer being near my mum, and the fact that we can see each other every day.
“My mum doesn’t need an invitation.
“She lets herself in but the rules are that she has to ring the doorbell first in case I’m not dressed or entertaining friends.”
Knowing Patricia is nearby gives Arg peace of mind after he sank to his lowest ebb in the 2020 lockdown.
“I locked my doors, didn’t answer my phone, no one could get hold of me for days on end,” he says.
“There was a time where I was in my bedroom depressed, comfort eating, not seeing anyone.”
Food had replaced his addictions to drink and drugs. His love life – including a well-chronicled relationship with TOWIE co-star Gemma Collins – was up and down too.
But Patricia is his rock. And her worry finally made Arg see sense.
He goes on: “I knew big decisions had to be made and I wanted to change once and for all.
“It’s not nice to see your son lying in bed depressed, not wanting to leave the house, not recognise him because he had put on so much weight — and it was a dangerous time as well.
“I have asthma and at 27st, if I was to have got Covid, I very likely would not have got through it.
“So it was not just worrying about my mental health, but physically. It was a scary time.”
Arg was also inspired by Patricia’s own weight loss. He explains: “My mum is a big inspiration to me. She struggled with her weight for years.
“Before I had surgery, my mum actually lost 5st.
“She made a pledge that she wanted to feel comfortable and look well for her daughter’s wedding day – and she’s managed to keep the weight off.
“I saw what a difference it made to her life and how much it changed her.”
A gastric sleeve operation – which suppresses appetite – changed Arg’s life.
In under two years he has dropped to 14st and, at 6ft 2in, recently said that he might even be half a stone too light.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” he says. “It’s important you don’t forget how bad things were – and to make sure I am continually working on myself.
“Now we are positive and moving forward. One day at a time.”
Arg and Patricia were planning a walk, before going out to lunch for Mother’s Day.
She calls him “a charmer” and reveals he gave her a red rose for Valentine’s Day.
He also organized a surprise birthday trip with friends and family to see Mamma Mia The Party at The O2 – and treated her to a coat.
The gifts are a measure of how much progress Arg has made.
He continues: “Before, when I wasn’t in a good place, I wouldn’t have thought to organise nice things and make plans and do trips and be thoughtful with gifts.
“Now I’m in a good place. I’m caring and generous.
“My mum does help me around the house maintaining it.
“She gives me her time and helps me out and in return I make sure I get her bits of shopping in and cook her nice meals.”
Patricia says she was worried stiff during Arg’s dark moments and sought therapy herself.
She says: “I didn’t recognise him when he had put all that amount of weight on and I was just so worried.
“It was his health. I was petrified. Now I feel like we’re closer as a family. He’s getting on, looking after himself.”
But having to step away in order to help aid his recovery was the hardest thing she has done.
Patricia feared it could backfire and push him into an even darker place.
She adds: “I’m a softy. Obviously I loved him unconditionally, but through learning about addiction I wasn’t actually helping him.
“I had to walk away, realise I can’t make him better. It was scary because I’ve never turned my back on him.”
But Arg is grateful his mother did just that. He says: “You need to realise no one else can make it better. You gotta wanna do it yourself.
“You have to realise when, as an addict, that there has to be consequences for you when you are using.
“For example, if my mum was still going be there every single day and treat me the same, then there’s no consequence for me in order for me to stop using.
“When people distance themselves from me and say, ‘I’m taking a step back or a step away’ that’s when you feel, ‘Oh no, I need to change because I’m losing people around me.’
“Mum was advised by therapists to take a huge step back and it’s tough because it’s not natural. She wouldn’t want to do it, but she had too. It was difficult.”
Despite falling off the drink wagon last month – “a blip”, Arg says – he and Patricia see a bright future.
They are giving his old clothes to charity shops. Arg has set two goals – to swim the English Channel and hit greater musical heights with his party band.
And with another nod to Mother’s Day, he says: “I think the best way of thanking my mum is by continuing to work hard on my recovery.
“Continuing to be happy, healthy. To attend meetings and to keep doing what I’m doing, I think that’s the best gift you can give your mother really, isn’t it?”