As fans of I’m A Celebrity will recall, when Charlie Brooks – who was of course crowned Queen of the Jungle last weekend – took part in a challenge called Door to Door with fellow celeb camper Eric Bristow, she and Eric missed out on the chance to spend a few minutes with their children…
In case you didn’t see it, for the Door to Door task, the campmates had to pick a door to open to reveal a prize, but behind one door was a ‘Game over’ sign. However, behind the yellow door were members of the celebrities’ families.
So when Charlie and Eric opened the door to the ‘Game over’ sign, they went back to camp having no idea that their respective children, Kiki and James, were there.
At the time, I wrote an article asking if it was too cruel to put seven year old Kiki through the trial – teenager James was of course less likely to be traumatized by it – and it would seem that her mum Charlie certainly thought it was…
Speaking to TV Biz, Charlie – who wept when she learned her daughter had been part of the task – said, “I signed up for this show, but Kiki didn’t.
“I didn’t want her to be so upset. I had no idea this was happening. It was my lowest point.
“My mum gave the green light for her to be there because it was an opportunity for Kiki to see me — and I think she thought she would.”
She continued, “I felt like I’d been kicked when I realised she had been behind that door.
“I felt so sad for both of us and I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterwards…
“I kept picturing Kiki’s face. She would have been excited about seeing me and nervous about being on the show — and then disappointed when we failed the task.
“Afterwards I went straight up and spoke to the show bosses. They said she ‘had a moment’, but assured me she was OK after they gave her a bowl of ice cream.
“Luckily there were only a few days left so I just had to focus on taking one day at a time until I left the jungle and could see her.”
When asked if she felt the task was cruel, Charlie said, “A lot of people have said they think it was a step too far and maybe it was.”
However, she went on to say that it was only in thinking about Kiki that she was able to withstand some of the more difficult parts of the show.
She said, “Sometimes the trees around the camp felt like a prison. The mental stress they put us through was intense, and at times I thought I couldn’t get through it…
“But I had a film of Kiki that I would watch in my head. I would picture seeing her when I got out of the jungle — I couldn’t wait to snuggle her and squeeze her.
“And then I would imagine all the things we would do together — like the slides we would go on in a theme park and her eighth birthday, which is coming up.
“I missed her like crazy and coping with that on a daily basis is really tough. It makes you feel constant butterflies in your stomach.
“But if I hadn’t have done it, she would have killed me. She was desperate for me to go into the jungle.
“She even told me before I went in ‘Mummy, I’m going to vote for you to do all the disgusting trials.’ And she did — on her Nan’s phone.”
But Charlie also revealed that she nearly turned down the opportunity to take part in the show, fearing that she might have an anxiety attack in camp.
She said, “I only signed up about a week before flying to Australia. I was worried about missing my family and getting too anxious.
“I am a worrier and I get anxiety attacks occasionally, like a lot of people. It can take over.
“So I wasn’t sure how I would react in that environment. But actually, I was fine. I just trusted myself…
“I know that I’m not a bad person, I know that I’m not a bitch, and I just stayed true to who I am.
“So knowing that people voted for me to win has been a real confidence boost. I want to use the experience to stop worrying so much.
“When I spoke to the show’s psychiatrist afterwards, she said I need to take what I’ve learnt and use it to let go of my worries and insecurities.”
However, Charlie added, “I’m A Celebrity was such a mental, bizarre, life-changing challenge — it was nuts.
“It was one of the toughest things I have ever done, but if I’d known how hard it would be, I would have still gone ahead with it.
“I have learnt that I am so much stronger than I thought I was, and I have come away with some fantastic friends.
“Being crowned the Queen of the Jungle was the cherry on top of the whole experience.”
Here’s a reminder of the moment Charlie learned she’d won…