Given Emily’s successful swimming career, and Australia’s love of its sporting heroes, she had definitely been in the spotlight in the past.
With two high-profile romantic relationships now behind her, both of which made headlines, Emily now seems ready to open up more freely, and give her side to her own experiences – something widely encouraged in the safety of the jungle, where fast friendships are formed.
“I miss everyone from the jungle,” she admits.
“The camp made me feel so safe and protected… it really gave me that opportunity to feel really strong about what I was saying and really comfortable in the situation that I was in.”
Among some heavy discussions about the campmates’ chosen charities, who inherit the $100,000 in prize money, Emily began to share her experiences with an eating disorder, leading her to choose the charity EndED.
Speaking on I’m A Celebrity, Emily admitted to being diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia during the height of her career.
“I don’t say it out loud because it’s not something that I’m really proud of,” she admitted to her fellow cast members.
“At points it got so bad that I’d cry going to training because I didn’t want to put my togs on in front of people.
“I even lost my period for about a year-and-a-half. That’s how bad, like, I was malnourishing my body, really.”
“Obviously there’s a level of difficulty in opening up to people that you haven’t known for a very long time … I think only a handful of people knew before I went on the show,” Emily admits now.
“I'm not much of a sharer … I just think it was an important message to get across to people, and for people to understand that they’re not alone, that other people are struggling with it. And you might not see all of that struggle all of the time,” she explains.
“I think there's a picture in people's head of what anorexia or bulimia looks like. And it's not what it actually is.”
Although a lot of stigma remains attached to disordered eating, Emily also spoke to her own experience as to what helped her move forward into recovery.
“I think the best thing, for myself, was to see a dietician. To see someone where I could be like, ‘okay, this is what I'm doing. I don't think that's right. Please help me’,” she says.
“And that was when it became more apparent to me, where I could actually see what I was doing and hear it back, that that’s not normal.
“You shouldn't have these feelings … you are allowed to eat whatever you want when you want to eat it and you don't have to exercise … you don't have to not eat for the rest of the day because you had something.”
The people who helped Emily create the safe space to share were her favourite thing about her I’m A Celebrity experience.
She knew Beau Ryan coming into the jungle, given their sporting careers, and has caught up with Davina Rankin and David Subritsky since filming ended, given they both live close by.
“The friends I made, for sure,” she confirms when asked what she enjoyed most about her filming experience.
“They’re going to last well after the show is done, and they’re the people that will always have your back.
“We have this … like an unspoken bond from being in the jungle, and being together and, sharing this experience with each other. It’s something extremely special to me, and I can’t wait to see it all grow,” she says fondly.
However, not everything was as emotionally charged. When asked if she learned anything about herself in the jungle, she laughs.
“I learned that I’m terrified of snakes, that I would eat a cow’s eye, and I would eat bugs,” she lists.
“So, who knows what’s going to happen next?” she teases.
You can catch Emily on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!, airing on 10 at 7:30pm Monday-Thursday.
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call The Butterfly Foundation's national helpline on 1800 33 4673 or visit their website.