BOY George told how yoga had helped tame his wild ways — and pledged not to be a diva Down Under.
He was a hellraiser in the ’80s, turning to drink and drugs while his band Culture Club topped the charts with hits such as Karma Chameleon and Do You Really Want To Hurt Me.
But after 14 years sober, the singer told HOAR he has changed his outlook since his “self-destruct” days after turning to Buddhism and yoga.
Instead of bickering over the I’m A Celeb firepit, George revealed that he intends to regularly take himself away from the other stars, who include Love Island’s Olivia Attwood and politician Matt Hancock.
He explained: “I’m going to obviously do yoga and I chant and I know that will annoy some people — so I can hopefully find a space where I can do that because I think that will keep me more sane.”
George, at 61 this year’s oldest campmate, said he signed up for the show only after being persuaded by hosts Ant and Dec.
He said: “I went on Saturday Night Takeaway a while back and I feel like I was set up by Ant and Dec because they asked me, ‘What does Karma Chameleon mean?’
“And I was like, ‘Never having to do I’m A Celebrity’, as a kind of joke. And then they said to me, ‘What would make you do it?’
“I said, ‘If you did like a vegan or vegetarian one’. I think I said vegan, but I am not vegan, I am vegetarian. And they said, ‘We can!’ And I thought, ‘Oh sh**!’”
George nearly had second thoughts after ITV producers approached him. He said: “I talked about it with my manager, and I said, ‘Oh I’m not doing it.’
Laughing, he added: “Then I spoke to Ant and Dec and you know how charming they are . . .”
He continued: “You know TV is very different. I’ve always watched the show and it’s not as it’s not as aggressive as it used to be.
“If you go back to when, say, Johnny Rotten was on it or Katie Price — that was really hostile and that’s not something I would have enjoyed.
“I mean, I don’t mind an argument or a debate and I’m excited about who might be in there and what might come up. And, you know, I try to be an intelligent person.”
George said he will try not to waste energy on “pointless” squabbles in camp, despite his star sign. He went on: “It’s about listening to other people.
“Us Geminis, we’re not great at that. We’ve already made up our minds a lot of the time about what we think.
“But my opinions about things, particularly in the last sort of three or four years, have changed a lot.
“It’s one of the things that until you’re in that situation, you don’t really know how you’re going to react but my appetite for pointless arguments is greatly diminished!”
Speaking from isolation ahead of the series starting on Sunday,
George continued: “I think over the years, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I feel like at this point I’m quite good at coping with where my own head takes me — do you know what I mean?
“All through my life I’ve done various types of therapies and in the last two years I’ve been practising this thing called the Three Principles. It’s about sort of how you manage your own thinking.
“I guess the best way to describe it is mind laundry. You kind of look at your reactions to things. In a large part it is about taking a breath before you react.
“We now have these devices where we can insult people and we can respond to people immediately. If you go back to the ’80s or ’70s or whatever, if somebody wanted to say something horrible about you they had to write a letter to a newspaper or they had to be on some TV programme to voice their view.
“Whereas now everyone has access to giving their opinion straightaway.
“So I feel like if you are in the public eye you have to be more mindful of how you respond to them.
“I was quite quick with my responses, you know, and it’s something I’ve really worked on in terms of my own process with communication and thinking and all those sorts of things.”
CUSTOMISED CAMP UNIFORM
The singer, who recently put his £17million Grade-II listed Hampstead home up for sale, is synonymous with extravagant eye make-up and bold hats.
He has already customised his camp uniform by sewing on red polka dots to his khaki shirt.
But he said: “Most of the time I am stripped back — I don’t walk around just like I’m going on stage most of the time!
“When I was 19 or 20 obviously I always looked like that you know, because there was more of a pressure.
“I think as I’ve got older I’m kind of more comfortable with who I am.
“But when you dress up a certain way, people react very differently. You know, if I’m not dressed up, sometimes I go to a restaurant and people can be quite rude.
“The minute they know who you are, they soon change their tune.
“You know, it’s a fascinating thing to have such an extreme look at then look so different without it. I can get on the bus, on the Tube, and people don’t really bother me and I am cool if they do — I am not as uptight as I used to be.”
However, he said: “I don’t think you should go on a show like this if you don’t want to do your best.
“I mean, it’s the same as walking on stage — I don’t ever walk on stage and think I will give a half level performance, you know.
“I feel like I’ve been paid well for it so I’m going to be a Boy Georgey as I can.”