Charlene White says becoming a 'surrogate mum' aged 16 affected her mindset on I'm A Celeb


Charlene White, 42, said her I’m A Celebrity experience brought back memories and emotions of tough times in her life, namely when she became a teen mother to her brother and sister following the death of their mum. Charlene’s mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer aged just 43 and died four years later. 

Just hours before Charlene was voted out of the jungle, she screamed “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” in a bushtucker trial alongside Boy George.

Looking back following her exit, the ITV newsreader insists she was “terrified” and had no choice. 

She said: “Any time I’m scared or upset or fearful of something, my default is to just be strong and to get through it.

“That is my default because of my history. I had to be all of those things after my mum died so at 16 I was a surrogate mum.

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“Really, from 16 and I took on a lot of mum duties so my default position is always – when it’s an unknown – to mother because that’s what I’ve always done.

“If I’m scared or I’m afraid of something or nervous about something I’ll just go to my default and I’ll just be strong because I couldn’t show those things when I was 16 because I didn’t want to upset my brother and sister.

“On the outside it always looked like ‘she isn’t scared of anything’ but I’m scared of so many things but I’m not used to showing it,” she added to the Mirror’s Mark Jefferies.

Recalling the trial which ultimately left Charlene in tears, she explained that even Boy George could see how petrified she was.

She concluded: “It’s interesting because when I spoke to my dad on the drive out of camp, and it may not have seemed that I was terrified to anyone that didn’t know me but one of the first things my dad said on that FaceTime call was ‘you were utterly terrified’.

“He knows that because he knows it is an uncomfortable position whenever I show fear, it must be something serious and dad knew that immediately because I was utterly terrified.”

After Charlene became the first celebrity to leave the camp, another is set to follow in her footsteps tonight.


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