Missing any special occasions? No
Phobias? Anything that moves, water, heights
Relationship status: Married
She may have shot to fame as the tough talking TV nutritionist who encouraged millions to change their eating habits, but Gillian McKeith has such a bad phobia of any animal or insect that moves, she has even fainted several times.
The You Are What You Eat TV presenter, who tried to motivate people on her show to lose weight and change their lifestyle by taking a very no-nonsense approach, admits she is petrified of anything that moves and has even sat on top of a table in a busy American restaurant screaming after she spotted an animal move across the floor.
Gillian confides: “I have had a serious phobia of anything that moves since I was a child.
“I think I am very together as a person. I have worked hard to get where I have today, but when I see anything that moves,something takes over me. It’s involuntary and irrational but I am terrified.
“I can remember being in a restaurant in Colorado once when I saw an animal. I climbed onto the table with my child and screamed in the middle of the restaurant. I didn’t care that people were watching. I was more terrified of the animal. Apparently it was quite normal because the restaurant was in the mountains, but I didn’t care.
“I have fainted several times too and I have been known to call a taxi when I have seen a spider in my house and pretended I was going somewhere. I’d then get the driver to help me get the spider out of the house.”
Revealing she is also petrified of water and scared of heights, she goes on: “Something happens when I get in the water too. And I am scared of heights. I feel like I am going to jump off. Of course I don’t but it’s awful.”
So worried is McKeith, who is the author of countless books on healthy nutrition and who has also competed in The X Factor: Battle of the Stars and Supersize vs Superskinny, that she has been having nightmares in the run up to the start of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
She says: “I have had nightmares about all of this. I’ve woken up with ants crawling all over me. I am sure I will scream. I don’t want to but I just can’t help it.”
So why exactly, then, has she decided to go in the jungle? Explaining it is definitely not to get more work, she replies: “I have been working very hard over the past year and I haven’t stopped. I feel like I need a rest.
“From what I understand, it will be very peaceful and relaxing, rather than the crazy madness I am used to!”
Yet there are some aspects of the jungle life that will prove no problem for Gillian. She is, of course, renowned for her love of beans, and so the food will seem like a luxury for the nutritionist.
“I am a vegan and I love beans and rice,” she says. “What’s amazing is I don’t even have to cook them in the jungle. Who could ask for better? I am really happy about that. I will be happy to educate the others if they want to learn more about beans and rice!”
Describing herself as a ‘doer’, she says she is happy to get her hands dirty and help out, and she has already volunteered to clean out the toilet if nobody else wants to. Gillian – famous for getting viewers to reveal their toiletry habits on TV to discover more about what’s inside their bodies – adds: “I am quite a social person and I am happy to cook. I’ll carry the poo too if they want me to. I don’t want to have arguments though.”
To prepare for her experience, especially her phobias, Gillian says she has been doing deep breathing exercises. “I am hoping I will have an ally in the camp who can get rid of them (insects),” she chuckles. “I don’t want to kill them – just get them away from me.”
The mum of two says she will miss her children the most, but says she is determined to make them proud. “They are so excited about me doing this,” she says. “But it’s going to be hard being away from them. This is the longest period I have ever been away from them.”
She pauses, and then adds: “It’s going to be an adventure without a shadow of a doubt!”