Helen Flanagan in tears as she says sorry for ‘brainless’ photo with gun to her head
AN EMOTIONAL Helen Flanagan wiped away tears on TV this morning as she apologised for posting a picture online of herself holding a gun against her head just days after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
The actress and I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! star called the decision to post the picture on Twitter "the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life" and apologised to any of the victims' families who may have taken offence.
The image, taken in a fashion shoot in October and shared by Flanagan on Monday, appeared in the media and prompted a wave of online criticism.
Flanagan looked visibly emotional when she appeared on ITV’s Daybreak sofa, wiping away a tear as she attempted to answer the first question and saying: "Sorry, I am so upset."
She said she posted the photo without thinking and deleted it once she realised the significance of what she had done.
She said: "I absolutely hated myself for it. I am incredibly sorry. I just could not be more sorry... my heart bleeds for the families.
"None of my friends are the public eye. I sometimes forget that I am in the public eye... I have to be more careful as a role model."
Flanagan initially accused The Sun of "bullying" on Twitter when it ran the picture with the headline: "As 26 lie dead after US school horror, Corrie's Helen Flanagan poses with a gun to her head... BRAINLESS".
The actress told Daybreak she still believed The Sun's decision to put the picture on its front page had been unfair.
She said: "I did think for it to be on the cover of The Sun like that was unfair because it was a completely careless second... I would never, ever want to hurt anyone."
The Sun said in a statement read out on the show that, while Flanagan was one of its favourites, anyone who courts fame must use their celebrity responsibly.
The paper said: "Tweeting this picture on the day that the first victims of a shooting are being buried was a major error of judgment and it is right that Helen is held accountable."
Flanagan said she took responsibility for her actions and pledged to "learn the lessons from this".