Mark, who got divorced from Kerry in 2011, admitted keeping a £50,000 cannabis farm at his semi-detached house following a raid by police last April.
However, despite pleading guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing, Mark was spared jail yesterday (12 January) and was given a two-year suspended sentence and 300 hours of community work.
According to Mail Online, Mark told Bolton Crown Court that his dealer had threatened to tell the press he had drug debts if he did not store the 56 illegal plants at his house.
Wayne Jackson, defending, asked the judge not to hand him a prison sentence, adding: "Due to the difficulty he has had because of his links to the celebrity culture in the past, that pressure from others was brought to bear on him to have those drugs in his house.
"He was being told that this was the way to pay his debts - if not, these people were going to the press and the cat would have been out of the bag."
Mr Jackson added: "He has gone from a lavish lifestyle covered by TV programmes to now living on state benefits.
"He is trying to improve his life but, in the background, he has this. He deeply regrets being involved in the drug culture and he has given up drugs.
"Throw him some sort of lifeline, a lifeline to a man who has struggled for a number of years."
Passing her sentence, recorder Abigail Hudson told Mark: "You are a man of previous good character, have suffered the breakdown of your marriage.
"I accept you are a good father and I further accept you have struggled with your health but you did play a significant role. I accept there was some degree of pressure brought to bear upon you by others.
"You have lived a lifestyle which is rapidly changing, I do not underestimate the fluctuations you may have had.
"I'm willing to believe and give you the benefit of the doubt, your experience of the courts and criminal justice system will be the last."
Mark has two children with Atomic Kitten singer Kerry. Kerry is now happily married to third husband George Kay.
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