Reality TV star Joey Essex shed tears as he spoke about losing his mother Tina during Monday night’s instalment of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
The former The Only Way is Essex (Towie) star recounted his childhood and the struggles he faced growing up following her suicide, during an interrogation session of the Channel 4 series.
The 29-year-old said he had come on the show to find out how tough he really was as he was questioned by SAS instructors Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton.
He said that growing up he had “to deal with a lot of shit”.
Asked to elaborate, he said: “My mum committed suicide when I was 10 which was quite difficult. I don’t know, I just feel like it hardened me up a little bit… made me like, just, I can’t really explain it, it’s made me a bit tougher inside.”
The TV star is among the crop of celebrities being put through their paces by Ant Middleton and his directing staff on the series, to see if they would be eligible to pass SAS selection in real life.
A teary Essex told Fox and Ollerton: “I’ve just started to process it, being able to talk about it openly and saying the word ‘mum’ — three or four years ago.
“I know my mum loved me, so I don’t know”.
Asked if he had trust issues, he said: “Yeah. One day she was there, one day she was gone. I could never, it’s like… why?”
A short video shows Essex speaking to the camera, talking about his mum’s death, saying: “My dad kneeled down and I remember him just grabbing my head and him saying something along the lines of ‘Mummy’s gone’. I still didn’t really understand. It was, like, crazy.”
The third episode of the Channel 4 programme saw the celebrities paired up in teams, with Essex and Paralympic silver medallist Lauren Steadman working together.
Tensions between the pair rose during their many challenges including a brutal endurance task, which saw them have to carry around 100 kilograms between them in their pairs in the form of a heavy log and jerrycan.
Steadman, who was born missing her lower right arm, also competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.
Essex told the SAS instructors he liked Steadman, but added he felt “she is a little bit in competition with me”.
During her own session talking to the SAS instructors, Steadman became emotional as she was reprimanded by them for not being a team player.
She told them: “To be honest I’ve really enjoyed all of this time until I’ve been paired with Joey. It’s been really hard. I just sometimes feel as though he, when it gets really really hard, he doesn’t know what to do.”
SAS Instructor Jay Morton told her she was “a very individual, driven person and a very individual athlete and that’s not what we want to see from you. You were a front runner, you’ve massively let us down”.
A tearful Steadman was comforted by Strictly’s Brendan Cole following the session, who offered up advice by telling her: “Maybe they are seeing that you are attacking the situation in the wrong way.”
During Monday night’s episode, the third in the series, footballer John Fashanu and BBC Radio 1 Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans were given their marching orders, while both Essex and Steadman were warned they faced the axe if they did not start working better together.
The remaining celebrities include Cole, TV presenter Helen Skelton and Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson.
Also still there is Rudimental DJ Locksmith and former boxing champion Tony Bellew.
In addition to Fashanu and Evans, the other celebrities who have exited the show so far are Katie Price, Anthea Turner and YouTube star Jack Maynard.
Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins airs on Channel 4 on Monday nights at 9pm.