Joe Swash has credited reality TV with restoring his confidence after feeling ‘lost’ following his departure from BBC soap opera EastEnders.
The actor and presenter spent five years in Albert Square as the affable spiv Mickey Miller, but the character was finally axed in 2008 – leaving Swash on edge.
And he admits his subsequent appearance on the eighth series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! – that he was going to win – gave him a new sense of purpose.
Featured on Wednesday’s edition of Loose Women, Swash, 41, revealed his success on the show – after which he quickly established himself as a television mainstay – also served as the catalyst for his recent appearance in the star I’m A Celebrity… South Africa.
He said, “It was one of those things. I thought that chapter was closed, and then they asked me about the spin-off show and South Africa.
Grateful: Joe Swash credited reality TV for restoring his confidence after feeling ‘lost’ after leaving BBC soap opera EastEnders
In the good old days: The actor and presenter spent five years in Albert Square as the affable spiv Mickey Miller, but the character was finally phased out in 2008 – leaving Swash on edge.
Tears: Swash admits he was ’emotional’ on his second stint on I’m A Celeb because he missed his family
“When I think of the jungle, I think of it as a human being. When I left EastEnders I was a bit lost and it gave me so much confidence. Everything comes from the jungle.
The Cockney star admitted it was fiancée Stacey Solomon who urged him to take part in the South African series because “she knew how much” it meant to him.
But his blessing didn’t stop father-of-four Swash from breaking down in front of fellow campmates while discussing his family, an emotional display that reflected his first stint on the show.
“I was a little disgusted to be so emotional,” he explained. “The first time, I stayed there much longer. It was serious to leave her.
“The first time I only had my eldest son Harry and only saw them at weekends. I missed them so much and I was hungry, we had no food in there. I was more emotional.
Success: Swash won the eighth series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! In 2008
Don’t bother me: Actor and presenter admits he let his emotions get the best of him while taking part in the South African spin-off
True love: Swash says his fiancée Stacey Solomon urged him to take part in the South African series because she “knew how much” it meant to him
Having reunited with his family after pre-recording the spin-off last October, Swash now plans to reciprocate Solomon’s declaration of love by getting his name tattooed on his body.
He said: ‘You know what Stacey looks like, she’s gonna want one on my forehead or something. I was so touched by it.
The actor also admits they will consider trying for another baby after welcoming daughter Belle, their third child together, last year.
“There’s not a lot of one-on-one at the moment, but that’s part of having a young family,” he added. ‘But we are so lucky. We’ll have to give it another year or so.
At the time of filming I’m A Celebrity… South Africa, Solomon was still pregnant with their youngest daughter, now three months old.
The couple also share Rose, 16 months, and Rex, two.
Swash is stepfather to sons Solomon, Zach, 15, and Leighton, nine, from previous relationships and he has son Harry, 15, with his ex, Emma Sophocleous.
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