She’s so happy to be married to Richard
“Even if Richard had said: ‘Look I’m just not interested in getting married’ it wouldn’t have crushed me.” “That idealistic view of life where you think ‘If I don’t do this, or I don’t look like that then I won’t be happy’ is something I just don’t believe in any more.
Read more: Katie Piper opens up about her disfigurement and scars
Of course, he couldn’t wait to pop the question. After just over two years of being together – and nine months after having their daughter in March 2014 – he got down on one knee.
They finally had their big day in a secret wedding service last November.
Now eight months on, not only does Katie love the fact she has a new name, she says she is surprised how much more secure she also feels after tying the knot.
“I’m not a mushy person,” she says. “I just thought: ‘Well, we already live together, so it’s just a piece of paper,’ But it’s not.
“But now it just feels like a proper family, as one, complete and together. It’s a nice feeling of security.
“The best thing about being married is thinking: ‘I’ve met the person I love and we’re going to be together forever’.”
Katie, who has two siblings, says she’d glady give Belle a brother or sister. She previously said she’d be open to adoption as injuries to her oesophagus in the attack mean it’s difficult for her to get the right nutrients.
But Katie stresses if she did concieve naturally again, she would be overjoyed.
“If it happens it would be brilliant,” she says, “but just having Belle was such a great blessing. And a lot of my life experience has taught me nothing is dead set.”
Another hurdle is her hectic work schedules. They found it tricky enough to arrange the wedding.
“One of our biggest problems was ‘When are we both going to get time in our diaries and time to organise it?’” says Katie.
As well as being a mum and fronting TV shows Bodyshockers and Channel 4’s Never Seen a Doctor, Katie – who was one of the judges on last year’s Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards – also works tirelessly for The Katie Piper Foundation, a charity dedicated to helpng burns victims and people with other disfiguring injuries.
While she loves her new married name, she’ll keep her maiden name for work as she knows how much the Katie Piper story means to people, and how it’s helped thousands struggling with their own self confidence and body image.
Daughter Belle is “such a great blessing”
It’s because when she speaks, it comes from the experience of her own horrific attack in March 2008.
Her tragic but empowering story by now is well known. Martial arts expert Daniel Lynch, now 39, had dated Katie for two weeks, when he turned violent and hired hitman, Stefan Sylvestre, now 27, to approach her on a London street and throw sulphuric acid in her face.
Lynch received two life sentences and will serve a minimum 16 years. Sylvestre was sentenced for life, minimum 12. He was turned down for parole in December.
Katie, who was an up-and-coming model and TV presenter, spent two months in hospital having multiple operations to repair her features and internal injuries.
Read more: Katie backs campaign to support teenage girls in fight against bullying
The acid had burnt the inside of her nose, mouth and throat and partially blinded her in one eye. To date she’s endured over 300 surgical procedures.
Now despite having tubes in her nostrils as she heals after her last operation, she refuses to let it get to her.
“In the beginning the surgery overtook my life,” says Katie. “Now I have a life and my surgery fits around it.”
One of Katie’s new missions is to help empower women she fears are becoming too obsessed with their looks. She’s particularly disturbed by the number of apps allowing people to enhance selfie shots – as it creates unrealistic expectations.
“People are going on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where everyone’s putting up pictures up where their face is completely air-brushed and there’s not a pore or a mark in sight.
“If you’re a young, naive person, you’re aspiring to be someone who doesn’t actually look like that,” she says.
“I don’t have apps like this on my phone because I think it would be more of a disappointment for the person when they meet me.
“I’d rather look worse in the pictures, then when they meet me it’s a bit of a bonus! If you eidt pictures of yourself too much, you can become disappointed by your own reflection.
“You’re lying to yourself so much and the whole thing just promotes feelings of inadequacy.”
And the situation is made worse by certain female celebs who alter their body shape online, Katie fears.
“I understand some people, dancers, singers or actors, who are in the public eye and they have a brand or an image to keep up,” she says.
“People manipulate pictures because they might look rough around the edges. But when someone takes their waist down from 32 inches to 21, it’s just crazy.”
Katie is also aware of a number several high profile acid attack cases in the news in recent months, including one last month where five teenagers were sprayed with acid at a station in Ockendon, Essex.
Yet she’s quick to play down fears the number of attacks is spiralling.
“When you read terrible stories it’s easy to think: ‘Oh my goodness this is happening more!’ ” she says. “It is terrible, especially knowing first hand what treatment the victims will be facing.
“But we get the data for my charity, and the statistics aren’t much higher.
“I think we’re just a lot more aware of it. Acid violence was once in the underworld rather than the mainstream.
“So people are maybe reporting it more and you’re seeing more cases go to court.
“Any violence concerns me, regardless of the motive or the weapon of choice.
“But, in a way, I don’t find it as shocking as people might think I would because because I hear about it all the time.
“Through the work I do with the charity, I regularly meet people who have unthinkable things happen to them.”
Katie has now signed up to be an ambassador for the new Special K Nourish range of cereals.
Through the campaign she’s met a number of different women all with their own daily battles, from one who used yoga to help her beat cancer to another who was one of the first black female police officers when she started three decades ago.
“Special K Nourish is about getting the right vitamins, having a balanced diet,” says Katie. “So they wanted it to be about women empowering themselves and nourishing themselves on the inside.
“It’s what I am all about with what I do with my charity. There are other women also as ambassadors who’d faced real adversity in their lives and become trailblazers.
“We all got together and I talked to them about their inner strength and where they get it from.”
And just like her new surname, it was another chance for Katie to put her past behind her.
She says: “It was celebrating women as a group and it was quite uplifting not to have to sit there and just talk about what happened to me.”
- Katie’s an ambassador for Kellogg’s new Special K Nourish campaign to help women find their “inner strength”. For more on her charity visit www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk