Joey Essex has admitted losing his mother to suicide when he was just 10 years old has given him trust issues.
The former The Only Way Is Essex star opened up about his childhood trauma during interrogation scenes on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, admitting he has only recently been able to say the word “mum”.
Essex, 29, told officers Jason Fox and Matthew Ollerton: “I believe I am tough inside. Growing up wasn't easy.”
He went on: “I had to deal with a lot of s**t. My mum committed suicide when I was 10 which was difficult.
“It hardened me up a little bit. I can't explain it. It's made me tougher inside.”
Essex revealed: “I only sort of started being able to talk about it openly, saying the word mum three or four years ago.
“I know my mum loved me. But it has given me trust issues. One day she was there one day she was gone.”
The reality star has been an ambassador for Child Bereavement UK since 2014 but has rarely spoken about his experience directly.
Essex was warned by the Celebrity SAS that he faced the axe if he did not start working as a team with his partner Paralympic athlete Lauren Steadman.
But instructors commented in the very first episode of the show that they were impressed by his physical fitness and determination.
The latest episode of Celebrity SAS saw retired footballer John Fashanu, 57, and BBC Radio 1 Xtra DJ Yasmin Evans sent home.
Other contestants taking part in the new series include Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole, Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton, Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson, YouTuber Jack Maynard, Rudimental DJ Locksmith and former boxing champion Tony Bellew.
Model Katie Price, 41, and Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner, 59, left in the second episode.
Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins continues on Channel 4 on Mondays at 9pm.
For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.