How many kids can say they saw their dad get into a tank of snakes on national television?
I know! When you do one of these shows they ask you what your strengths and weaknesses are and unfortunately I broke my back about 12 years ago and I developed claustrophobia as a result of that. It's been a real limiting thing in my life, it's held me back and then I also told them I'm afraid of snakes so they put me in a coffin underground with 70 snakes in there so there is nothing more jungle than that! Like oh my god why was I so honest?
I haven't being scared for a long time. I've been in this game for a while now, you know 20 odd years and it was sort of nice to reset your tolerance of fear. Sometimes fear can creep into your life and I wanted to live a life with less fears because I think that's a better life. It resets the bar of what you can tolerate and what you're scared of so yeah you definitely come out stronger.
It certainly seems like the show where you come to appreciate what really matters.
Yeah you do and I don't think I've ever really appreciated the power of friendship. I've been a very career-driven, goal-setting guy and and I've moved through relationships and just had my head down but to have a bunch of people around you that can help you realise a better version of yourself is a beautiful thing to realise. I learnt a lot about myself and I improved a few things I didn't like about myself in there and I never expected that to be one of the outcomes.
You mentioned that you were a bit hesitant when you first rocked up in the jungle but now you've made some great bonds with your fellow contestants.
I'm guilty of it as well but you go in there with your TV facade on and you try to act your way through the first week. Then I quickly realised that I don't have the energy to do this round the clock and the guard comes down and when the guard comes down beautiful things start to happen. But that's not a natural reflex for me - I've spent a lot of my life pretending to be someone and it was nice to actually be myself and then be liked for just being myself so it was a beautiful thing. A different person would look after you at different times - if you were having a particularly down moment in there someone would wrap their arms around you and lift you back up. I wouldn't have made it to the end of the show if it wasn't for the people that were in there because it was too hard but as a collective we stuck together and we got each other to the end.
So you're still in contact with everyone? Do you all have a big group chat?
Yeah, we only left the bar about six hours ago! We do have a group chat going on and for the first time this show has been pre-recorded so we were able to film it all in November/December and watch it all back. That's an incredibly different experience because you can't remember what you said in there, you don't know what you cried about or who you complained about and so it's a very nerve-wracking experience going 'Have I embarrassed myself or my family?' But then you also get to relive the magic as well - it's an horrific but beautiful experience all at the same time.
You and your wife Chezzi are expecting baby number three very soon. How are you feeling as it gets down to the big day?
It's crazy, we're so close to having baby number three. It was my wife's decision, I wanted her to make the call and I don't know if it says much about our relationship that she kicked me into the jungle! I think she had the feeling that there's a good chance that I'll go in and come out a slightly better version of myself and she was right. You don't want to leave a heavily pregnant partner behind because you don't want to miss those little milestones that come along during a pregnancy but I've come out so much more thankful for the little things in life. Even running water, hot water and a flushing toilet! I think I'll cherish every second of our new baby which is a nice perspective to have received.
Any inklings whether it will be a boy or a girl?
Waiting for the universe to decide for me!
Chezzi had some horrible health struggles during her pregnancy. What's it been like seeing her go through that?
She unfortunately struggled from this condition called hyperemesis gravidarum which makes you horrifically sick. It's not morning sickness because it's all day, every day, night and day, it's so debilitating. She's a really strong woman, super resilient but she was having to go to hospital every three or four days just to get fluids into her. It was a troublesome pregnancy for her but she's a powerhouse and she lives with the fact that we know the outcome is going to be spectacular so she can power through it so I'm in awe of her strength.
Looking back on your I'm A Celeb experience as a whole, is there one specific moment in particular that you'll always remember?
It's achieving something that you didn't think you were capable of. If you've got a fear that is holding you back in life and then you go in and face that fear and then you overcome the challenge, you're almost free of the shackles of life that have been limiting you for a long time. Who ever gets that opportunity? You're forced to face the aspects of your personality that you don't like because you have no distractions - no phone, television or food in there - so you're sort of forced to meet the parts of your personality that you don't like and you have the chance to reflect on them and fix them so that's a special part that I never expected. It's pretty powerful!