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Iain Lee asked to do I’m A Celebrity to fund his divorce

Iain came third on I’m A Celeb in 2017 (Picture: Gourley/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Iain Lee discovered he was the lowest paid campmate on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! after signing up due to his divorce.

The 47-year-old appeared on the ITV reality show in 2017, eventually coming third behind Jamie Lomas and queen of the jungle Georgia ‘Toff’ Toffolo.

Iain has shared that he had previously turned down the show four times, but asked to be in the cast in 2017 as he needed to get a deposit for a flat, due to his split from wife Helena Wilkinson.

Speaking on The Paul Chowdhry PudCast, the presenter said: ‘They asked me four times to do it and I went “nope, not gonna do it.” Because it means your career is over. But I thought it’s interesting they keep asking me – that means I’ve kind of got a cheque in my back pocket if I ever need it. And I needed it because I was getting divorced and I couldn’t afford to buy couldn’t afford a deposit on a house or a flat.

‘I phoned them up that year and said “you keep asking me to do I’m a Celebrity, I don’t suppose it’s available this year is it?” and they called me in and they paid me quite a lot of money, the lowest amount out of anyone that year I found out. But they paid me well and it turns out it was quite a good thing to do.

‘You know, I went in there with no plan… I did have a plan – the plan was I knew I was going to go in last. So the plan was to go in last and come out first because as a scholar of these reality shows the people that go in late never do well. And then have a really lovely holiday. But it didn’t happen like that. I went in last, something kind of clicked with the public – I think mainly clicked that some of the other people in there were a**eholes – and I came third. So that was funny.’

Iain confirmed that he and Helena, who share two sons, had split in March 2018, saying on talkRADIO: ‘It’s miserable and I feel weird after Australia. My head’s all over the place. My marriage has ended. I’m getting divorced.’

Iain got divorced in 2018 (Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Following his time on I’m A Celeb, his radio career went from strength to strength, with his talkRADIO show The Late Night Alternative winning moment of the year in 2020 for an episode where he kept a listener who had taken an overdose on the line until help could get to him.

However, his contract was not renewed at talkRADIO last year, and Iain now hosts his late night show over Twitch.

Also on comedian Paul’s podcast, Iain discussed his struggle with drug use, after becoming addicted to cocaine when he shot to fame hosting The 11 O’Clock Show.

He was co-host on the Channel 4 show, which launched the careers of Sacha Baron Cohen and Ricky Gervais, between 1998 until 2000, before he walked out after the fourth series.

Iain said: ‘[Being on TV] caused me a lot of problems because I was already using quite a bit of drugs before The 11 O’Clock Show started and that was when I was signing on. So suddenly, I’m earning thousands of pounds a week and I’m meeting a guy that will deliver coke to my door and it went nuts. I kind of became that cliche, you know, suddenly had some money and a little bit of fame and I didn’t know how to handle it.

‘I had low self esteem so the way I handled it was by taking cocaine and cheating on my girlfriend. I don’t say any of this with pride, I’m just saying it with honesty. Then as the show finished and we all got propelled into our different careers, my career started quite slowly going down and then took a nosedive. And I’m watching Ricky and Sacha go off to Hollywood and make movies and I’m thinking s***, that was supposed to be me. I always got on well with Sacha and Ricky but for a long time I was caught up in bitterness and resentment and jealousy.

‘Instead of using that jealousy to propel me to greater things, I used it to justify taking more and more drugs and sinking into myself and killing pretty much the TV side of my career because I became very unstable. I said yes to the wrong things, I said no to things I should have done.’


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