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Naomi Campbell broke down in tears as she spoke about her outbursts to talkshow host Oprah Winfrey.
The supermodel insisted she was not a "petulant diva" who lost control when she didn't get her own way, but told how she saw red when she felt her trust had been abused, because she had felt abandoned as a child.
Naomi told Oprah: "It comes from a deeper place than that with me - it comes from another type of emotional disorder because it's not just, if I don't get what I want I throw a fit..."
She went on: "It comes from, I think, an abandonment issue and it comes from also trying to just build up a family around me that's not my immediate family and if I feel a mistrust, then... all my cards go down.
"I think it's also a fear issue because anger comes from fear... It's not an excuse; I don't have an excuse for my behaviour."
The 39-year-old star has pleaded guilty to attacks on staff in the past and has attended anger management classes in an attempt to deal with her violent behaviour.
She told Oprah: "I take responsibility for the things that I have done and I do feel a great sense of shame. I feel remorseful. I feel ashamed.""
Naomi's mother, Valerie Morris, was 19 when she was born and left her young daughter in the care of others as she travelled to pursue a career as a ballerina.
Ms Morris told Oprah: "I do feel that I abandoned her."
Naomi was moved to tears as she responded: "of course I understand the sacrifice she had to make."