Where first I’m a Celebrity cast are now – from tragic early death to bankrupt star who lived in mate’s car | The Sun

Where first I’m a Celebrity cast are now – from tragic early death to bankrupt star who lived in mate’s car | The Sun


WHEN eight celebrities headed into the jungle camp for the first time, they had no idea that they were starting a TV behemoth.

Two decades on and the 22nd cast are on their way to Australia to take part in I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.

Socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, glamour model Nell McAndrew, and actor Darren Day were among the first wave who headed into the camp and pushed themselves to their limits.

We take a look at what has happened to the first eight since they launched the iconic show, which has seen hosts Declan Donnelly and Ant McPartlin pick up a slew of awards.

Tony Blackburn

DJ Tony, 79, took home the crown for the first series after winning over viewers.

Viewers knew him for his stint on BBC Radio 1, which lasted for 17 years before he hopped stations.

He took over Sounds of the 60s on Radio 2 from Brian Matthew in 2016 and still presents it now.

The twice-married DJ has claimed he slept with over 300 women and that he has no regrets for being sexually prolific. 


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He claimed: "I wasn't married. I was free and easy…I don't see anything wrong… I don't regret any of it at all."

In his autobiography, Poptastic, he said he slept with four women a week as he turned to one night stands to cope with the breakdown of his marriage to Tessa Wyatt in 1977.

In 2020, Blackburn teamed up with Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson to present a new series of podcasts entitled Ricky and Tony's Pop Detectives.

The following year, he lost his sister Jackie to Covid – leading him to take time away from his show.

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Speaking about it on his show, he said: "She was on oxygen for a week and she came out and she never really recovered from it.

"She had had a stroke as well, so she wasn’t very well and she was disabled as well, but nevertheless, it makes you… It’s made me very very cautious."

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Socialite Tara was the runner-up in the inaugural series and went on to present three behind-the-scenes series of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! Now!

In 2011 Tara attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as a guest of the Royal Family.

A year later she was arrested at Heathrow Airport for allegedly being drunk and disorderly after being refused entry to a first-class lounge.

She claimed it was due to her having a panic attack. She stated: "I wasn't drunk, there was no disorderly. I was cautioned, I saw a doctor, they were nice to me."

Tragically in January 2016 she was diagnosed with a prolactinoma, a benign tumour (adenoma) of the pituitary gland, which she told the public about in November that year.

On February 8 2017, Tara was tragically found dead at her home in London. Initially, her death was treated as unexplained and not suspicious.

Her sister, Santa Montefiore, later told the media that the cause of death was a perforated ulcer and peritonitis.

Christine Hamilton

Media personality Christine, 72, survived until day 14 in the camp, finishing third.

Before going into the jungle, she was best known for being married to former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton.

A year before going into the show, the pair were arrested after being accused of rape by Nadine Milroy-Sloan – which later turned out to be false.

The woman was charged with perverting the course of justice and in 2002 sentenced to three years in prison for the fictional claims.

Three years later, Christine published her autobiography For Better For Worse: Her Own Story.

In 2018 the media personality was axed as a charity ambassador by Muscular Dystrophy UK and Balls to Cancer after she compared burkas to the white hoods of the Ku Klux Klan.

She also occasionally appears in pantomimes and is a supporter of UKIP alongside her husband Neil.

Nell McAndrew

The former Page 3 girl stunned in the jungle and stayed in for 13 days.

After proving a hit on the ITV show, she moved to TV and hosted The Big Breakfast in the early Noughties.

She famously pretended to marry Dale Winton for the BBC Three mockumentary Dale’s Wedding in 2003.

Two years later, her time in her first ever London Marathon was fast enough that she qualified to run in the British Championship women's race in future events. She has run at least five since.

Leeds-born Nell – who has penned a book about running – has appeared on a series of reality shows including Family Fortunes and Dancing On Ice.

The fitness fanatic won Rear of the Year in 2005, which was two years after she bagged Yorkshire Woman of the Year.

She is married to property developer Paul Hardcastle and they have two children.

Rhona Cameron

Comedian Rhona significantly raised her profile by taking part in the reality show.

The left-wing comedian went on to appear on Celeb Wife Swap with partner Suran Dickson in 2009.

She later had a relationship with Sue Perkins – who later found fame on Bake Off alongside Mel Giedroyc.

Rhona courted controversy in 2015 when she allegedly claimed "They’re eating dog meat in some parts of the country," on BBC2’s Newsnight, apparently referring to pet food.

Her comments were widely slammed by politicians.

In her autobiography, Rhona opened up about suffering abuse from boys when she was younger because they threatened her.

She wrote: "So why was I letting people do this stuff to me? It didn't make sense. But I didn't have any choice. I was terrified that if I didn't do it, they would rub dead birds in my face which they'd shot with air guns. Or they would threaten to phone my parents."

Darren Day

Actor Darren was the third person to be voted out of the original jungle series.

After leaving the series, he went on to appear in musical theatre productions We Will Rock You and pantomime Dick Wittington.

In the 2000s, he was engaged to Adele Vellacott and Suzanne Shaw. Prior to this he was also engaged to Anna Riel, Tracy Shaw, and Isla Fisher in the 90s.

But things went downhill in his personal life when it came out that he was cheating on his partner Suzanne in 2005, leading him to walk out on her and their two-year-old son.

After the breakdown of their relationship, he spent five months living in a friend's car and the following year was declared bankrupt after blowing his million-pound fortune on a £2,100-a-week cocaine habit, flashy motors and watches.

Thestar believes he spent £900,000 on his cocaine addiction. He told The Sunday Times: “I didn’t even have a bank account. I barely ate or drank, and I didn’t even need money for the drugs because I’d spent so much with my dealer over the years, he was giving me freebies."

In 2007 he married Stephanie Dooley, who he divorced in 2019.

After getting clean and repairing his life, he landed a role in Hollyoaks as villain Danny Huston in 2010. The same year he was banned from driving due to a second drunk driving offense.

Since then he has relapsed once and shared that he has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Nigel Benn

Boxer Nigel was the second person to leave the camp ever after making it just ten days.

Ahead of going into the reality show, he revealed that an addiction to casual sex had almost driven him to suicide.

He told The Guardian: "I just got to a low point when I said, 'Right, this is it'. It was eating me away, I just couldn't keep hurting my wife and my kids."

The former boxer detailed how he had driven to Streatham Common in south-west London one night in 1999 and attempted to end his life.

Since leaving the show, he has entered the World Boxing Council (WBC) Boxing Hall of Fame and dedicated his life to charity work.

He is a patron of the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, a UK children's charity based in the North West of England, helping children with life-threatening conditions and their families.

Earlier this month, his son Conor failed a drug test ahead of his bout with Chris Eubank Jr.

Nigel, 58, admitted that he fears the scandal will affect his legacy as boxing's Dark Destroyer – according to The Mirror.

He has not publicly commented on the failed test since.

Uri Geller

Self-proclaimed physic and paranormalist Uri was the first person EVER to be booted out of the famous camp.

He rose to fame demonstrating on television what he claimed to be psychokinesis, dowsing, and telepathy. However, many other magicians have denounced him as a fraud.

After the show, he went on to present Uri's Haunted Cities: Venice in 2005 and then hosted Israeli show The Successor in 2007 where contestants allegedly demonstrated powers.

In 2013, a BBC documentary, The Secret Life of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, in which it was claimed Uri had become "psychic spy" for the CIA, was recruited by Mossad, and worked as an "official secret agent" in Mexico, being a frequent guest of President José López Portillo.

Two years later he moved to Tel-Aviv. In 2021 Geller opened the Uri Geller Museum located at 7 Mazal Arieh Street in Old Jaffa in Tel Aviv which shows items he has collected over the years.

He was well known for his close friendship with Michael Jackson and claimed that he yelled at the popstar for talking about sleeping with young boys.

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Uri exclusively told The Sun: "I shouted at him many times, Michael stop talking about you sleeping with boys in your bed because the world doesn't understand you."

He added: "He was so naïve, my god he was like a child."

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