In 2007, she became the first regular female presenter of the Radio 1 Chart Show, which she co-hosted with Reggie Yates for two years. She went on to present her own Radio 1 show, airing every weekday morning since 2009. She left Radio 1 in May 2015.
Away from presenting, Cotton has her own fashion and homeware range with online retailer Very.co.uk and supports several charities in her spare time.
August 2017 saw Cotton collaborate with Mini Club, a children's clothing company that sells through Boots stores and their website, to produce her Fearne by Fearne Cotton range. She publicised the range across her various social media accounts, posting pictures of herself and her daughter wearing lines from the collection.
Cotton was born in Northwood, London to Mick and Lyn Cotton; she has a younger brother, Jamie Cotton. Her father was a signwriter for events such as Live Aid and her mother worked in alternative therapy. She grew up in Eastcote, Hillingdon in Middlesex and was educated at Haydon School. She is a pescatarian and an animal lover. She runs 5 km at least three times a week, and has participated in several half marathons for charity. Former BBC executive Bill Cotton (1928–2008) was her paternal grandfather's cousin. He was the son of the well-known entertainer and band leader Billy Cotton.
Cotton studied art at A level, a skill she made much use of whilst presenting the series Draw Your Own Toons.
In August 2017 Cotton's ancestry was explored in the UK series of Who Do You Think You Are? The accounts of her ancestors lives revealed some mixed fortunes, but Cotton was pleased to have discovered family history tales that she would be able to pass on to her own children. The programme revealed to viewers that one of her paternal great-grandfathers, Evan Meredith, had been a Welsh coalminer who had endured prison as a conscientious objector to military service in WW1 and in later life became a respected pharmacist. On her maternal line the episode shown on BBC TV found her ancestor, William Gilmour, from Northern Ireland who strived to improve his lot in the world. Cotton was reported to be pleased that her family story had found the work ethic and drive that she had hoped to discover in investigating her family roots.
Cotton began her presenting career in 1996, at the age of 15, with early morning GMTV children's programme The Disney Club, after winning a competition for young talent to present the show. After, Cotton continued with the show and with its replacement Diggit. She left in 2000, to concentrate on her other projects with CITV, including Draw Your Own Toons and Mouse, aimed at encouraging children to use computers.
Cotton joined CBBC in 2001 to present children's science programme Eureka TV. From 2001 until 2003, she presented Finger Tips, an arts and crafts programme for children, which she co-presented with Stephen Mulhern. She later co-presented on CBBC's Sunday morning show, Smile and on The Saturday Show. She has also made appearances in the CBBC show Only in America, alongside her good friend and fellow presenter Reggie Yates.
In 2006, Cotton presented the second series of Love Island with Patrick Kielty on ITV, taking over from Kelly Brook.
In 2007, she took over from Ben Shephard as the host of The X Factor spin-off programme, The Xtra Factor on ITV2. She presented it for one series before resigning to work in America. She was replaced the following series by Holly Willoughby. She also presented The X Factor: Interactive DVD Game in 2007.
Starting on 5 September 2007, Cotton co-hosted Holly & Fearne Go Dating, a dating programme alongside Holly Willoughby for ITV2. The show saw them try to find dates for lonely singletons.
Since 2008, Cotton has appeared as a team captain on the ITV2 comedy panel show Celebrity Juice alongside host Keith Lemon and fellow team captain Holly Willoughby. Cotton took a short break from the programme in 2013 whilst on maternity leave and so during the ninth series, Kelly Brook stood in for her.
She also presented the Isle of Wight Festival 2009 on ITV2 alongside Rufus Hound.
Since 2009, Cotton has hosted Fearne and... on ITV2. In 2012, Cotton hosted The Nation's Favourite Number One Single, a three-part series, revealing Britain's Favourite No. 1 single. Since 2016, Cotton has co-presented Fearne & Gok: Off The Rails, alongside Gok Wan for ITVBe. In March 2017, Cotton guest presented five episodes of ITV Breakfast's Lorraine programme.
In 2003, Cotton moved over to mainstream broadcasting. She along with Simon Grant (her co-presenter from The Saturday Show) presented the spin-off show Top of the Pops: Saturday (later renamed Top of the Pops: Reloaded) that year. In 2004, she moved up to work alongside Reggie Yates on the main programme, Top Of The Pops (the then flagship chartshow for the BBC) becoming one of the last regular presenters for that programme, which ended in July 2006. Due to other commitments, she was unable to present the final show itself, appearing instead in a short film shown at the head of that show, in which she made her personal farewells. Cotton and Yates presented the one-off Christmas and New Year specials in both 2008 and 2009, as well as the Comic Relief special in 2009.
She has hosted parts of the Red Nose Day telethon for Comic Relief (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011) presenting several strands alongside Jonathan Ross and Lenny Henry.
Cotton has also presented many charity telethons for both Comic Relief and Children in Need on BBC One and BBC Two. In July 2005 she co-presented the BBC's coverage of Live 8 in Hyde Park. During the event, British pop star and former Take That member Robbie Williams flirted with her in front of the cameras, causing much speculation in the media at the time, but which was later repudiated by the pair. In 2008, she hosted a Strictly Come Dancing special as part of Children in Need.
In June 2012, Cotton was one of the BBC's presenters for its coverage of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Cotton guest presented The One Show on BBC One for two nights in November 2013, two nights in February 2014, one night in March 2014 and one night in March 2016.
She also presented the Friday night live eviction programme that year for the Channel 5 reality television series Make Me A Supermodel.
Cotton hosted Sky1's talent search Must Be The Music for one series in 2010.
In 2008, Cotton moved to the USA to host The Guinness Book of Records – Live. Cotton later co-hosted the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing. Cotton was also seen making a special appearance on the show of Katie Price and Peter Andre, where she was seen in a gift lounge before the Oscars.
Cotton has presented parts of the BBC's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest.
On 20 May 2006, she read the United Kingdom's votes at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006, held in Athens, Greece.
On 17 March 2007, she, along with Terry Wogan, hosted Making Your Mind Up 2007, the show to decide which song the UK sent to the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland. On the night, after the final "sing-off" between the two remaining acts, Wogan and Cotton simultaneously announced different winners. Since Wogan was the more experienced presenter, it was assumed that he was right. In fact, Wogan had accidentally announced the wrong artist, Cyndi, as the winner. Cotton had to persist in repeating the correct name until the confusion was resolved. The group Scooch was quickly proclaimed as the correct winner but came only second from bottom in the main competition, just avoiding Nil Points. Cotton also presented the United Kingdom's votes at the show itself, held in Helsinki, Finland on 12 May 2007.
In September 2005, she joined BBC Radio 1 to present the Friday early morning slot with Reggie Yates, whom she had previously worked with on CBBC, Only in America and Top Of The Pops. Since 14 October 2007, Cotton and Yates presented BBC Radio 1's Chart Show, taking over from JK & Joel, who had left the station. Cotton then became the first ever permanent female presenter of a BBC radio chart show. (Jo Whiley had preceded her as the first female presenter of The Official UK Top 40, as it was then called, but presented it only once, on 24 November 2002.)
On 16 July 2009, it was announced that Cotton would become the new presenter of BBC Radio 1's weekday mid-morning show, taking over from Jo Whiley. Her new programme began on 21 September 2009.
On 27 February 2015, she announced that she was pregnant with her second child and that she would be leaving BBC Radio 1. Clara Amfo replaced Cotton in 2015, taking over the mid-morning show. Cotton's final show was broadcast on 22 May 2015.
Cotton joined BBC Radio 2 in July 2016 standing in for Graham Norton with former Spandau Ballet bassist Martin Kemp on Saturday mornings (10 am — 1 pm) while Norton took his annual summer break. Fearne covered for Ken Bruce 24–28 October 2016, and in 2017 on 13–17 February, 3–7 and 10–14 April, and 11 May.
Cotton and Holly Willoughby wrote an advice book entitled The Best Friends' Guide to Life which was published in October 2010.
Cotton said on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that she has eleven tattoos over her body, the most notable of which is a fern leaf, covering her right hip up to her rib cage.
Cotton dated skateboarder Jesse Jenkins who proposed on her 29th birthday. However, the engagement was called off and the couple split nine months later. Cotton starting dating Jesse Wood, the son of Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. On 8 August 2012, Cotton announced she was pregnant with her first child, and on 21 February 2013, she announced on Twitter that she had given birth that morning to a son, Rex Rayne Wood. Wood and Cotton got married in July 2014. On 27 February 2015, Cotton announced that she was expecting her second child as part of her announcement that she was leaving BBC Radio 1. On 9 September 2015, she announced on Twitter that she had given birth that morning to a daughter, Honey Krissy Wood.
Cotton is good friends with fellow TV presenter Holly Willoughby, with whom she has co-presented several shows. Cotton and Sarah Cawood acted as two of the bridesmaids at Willoughby's wedding to Dan Baldwin on 4 August 2007.
It was reported in the press on 21 July 2009, that whilst presenting the Radio 1 Chart Show two days previously Cotton had been the target of threatening text messages. These messages had been sent via the station's listener SMS service and seem to relate to Cotton taking over Jo Whiley's show. Cotton was driven home after the show by police escort and a 21-year-old man was arrested and charged with harassment.
Cotton supports a number of charities including CoppaFeel!, Post Pals, Macmillan Cancer Support, Children in Need and Red Nose Day.
In 2009, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, alongside Ben Shephard, Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon, Ronan Keating, Denise Van Outen and Chris Moyles, and Girls Aloud members Cheryl Cole and Kimberley Walsh. Cotton and others collapsed from altitude sickness during the five-day climb. She was in the first group (with Van Outen, Shephard and Cole) to reach the summit and helped raise £3.3m. Cotton filmed a video piece for Comic Relief about malaria. She visited a children's hospital in Uganda where she witnessed a young child in pain through malaria. Cotton had to walk out the room and collapsed as she did so but was able to continue shortly after. The child died later. Cotton also recorded her voice for the BT Speaking Clock to raise funds for Comic Relief. In 2011, she appeared in an all-in-one swimsuit after viewers of Alan Carr's Late Hour of Red Nose Day donated over £1M to the charity via more than 100,000 text messages in less than an hour, joking that she felt she looked like a 13-year-old boy.
Following more than 4,000 complaints made about the BBC's coverage of the Diamond Jubilee in the summer of 2012 and in particular criticism of Cotton's role, she responded on Twitter by stating, "Grown men who slag me off in articles/online are huge bullies. I love my job and wouldn't be doing it if I wasn't any good at it...Im [sic] from a working-class family and have worked hard to get to where I am today. Others will just sit and do nothing but judge."Television
Diggit (1998–2001) – Presenter
Petswap (2001) – Presenter
Finger Tips (2001–03) – Co-presenter, with Stephen Mulhern
The Saturday Show (2002–03) – Presenter
Smile (2002–04) – Presenter
Serious... (2002) – Presenter
Top of the Pops Reloaded (2003–05) – Presenter
Top of the Pops (2004–06) – Co-presenter, with Reggie Yates
Live 8 (2005) – Co-presenter, with Jonathan Ross, Jo Whiley and Graham Norton
Only in America (2005) – Presenter, with Reggie Yates
Children in Need (2005–15) – Co-presenter
Love Island (2006) – Presenter
Make Me a Supermodel (2006) – Presenter
Eurovision Song Contest (2006–07)
Brit Awards (2007, 2009–10)
Making Your Mind Up (2007)
Concert for Diana (2007)
Comic Relief (2007, 2009, 2011) – Co-presenter
Last Comic Standing (2008)
Nelson Mandela: Happy 90th Birthday (2008)
The Xtra Factor (2007) – Presenter
Holly & Fearne Go Dating (2007)
Guilty Pleasures (2008)
Everybody Dance Now! (2008)
Celebrity Juice (2008–present) – Team Captain
Guinness World Records Smashed (2008) – Presenter
2009 Golden Globes (2009)
Baftas 2009 (2009)
Oscars 2009: Live from the Red Carpet (2009)
The Truth about Online Anorexia (2009)
Isle of Wight Festival (2009, 2010)
iTunes Live Festival (2009–10)
Fearne and.... (2009–present) – Presenter
Must Be The Music (2010) – Presenter
2011 Brit Awards Nominations (2011) – Presenter
BBC Royal Wedding Coverage (2011) – Reporter
The Nation's Favourite Number One Single (2012) – Presenter
BBC Thames Jubilee Pageant Coverage (2012) – Reporter
The One Show (2013, 2014, 2016) – Guest presenter
Baftas 2014: Live from the Red Carpet (2014)
Teletubbies (2015–present) – Voice of the Voice Trumpets
Fearne & Gok: Off The Rails (2016) – Co-presenter
Lorraine (2017) – Guest presenter
A Night In Paris (2003)
Backseat Bangers (2004)
Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2003, 2004, 2005, 2009)
Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow (2006)
Through the Keyhole (2014, 2017)
2017 Brit Awards (2017)