X Factor star Rebecca Ferguson has revealed she suffered sexual abuse in a children’s home when she was only eight.

The singer appeared on chat show Loose Women where she said she felt the need to reveal her own story after one of the presenters, Saira Khan, divulged that she had been abused by her late uncle at the age of 13.

Ms Ferguson said she had only ever spoken about the abuse to one friend, but had decided it was the right time to speak out. She said: “I was eight when it happened. I think it affects a woman’s esteem, how you go on to be treated by men it has a big effect. I think if someone has took advantage of you from a young age. It’s very hard to have strong self-esteem. It’s taken me years to build it up. It was something I put to the back of my mind like it wasn’t there. You feel dirty like you’ve done something wrong. I think everyone knows I’m really bad at picking men.”

X Factor

While Ms Ferguson, who was runner up to Matt Cardle on the X Factor in 2010, has previously said she was taken into care because her mother was not well, she has not disclosed the nature of her illness.

Having just released her latest album, Superwoman, Ms Ferguson has been successful in her career, but not in her love life. She said she had been single for three years and believed that she would need counselling in order to form a lasting relationship.

Ms Ferguson previously dated former One Direction heartthrob Zayn Malik, who went on to become engaged to Little Mix singer Perry Edwards and is now with the model Gigi Hadid. She was recently linked to eighties pop star Matt Goss, but would only say: “He’s a lovely person and I’ve enjoyed speaking to him. That’s all.”