I’M A Celebrity legend Gillian McKeith was forced to endure six terrifying Bushtucker Trials during her time in the jungle.
Twelve years have now passed since she was buried alive, covered in creepy critters and feasted on by a bloodthirsty leech, but the memories are still very raw for Gillian, who previously revealed she has post traumatic stress from the show.
Her actress daughter Afton, who was just 10 years old when her mum swapped her idyllic life in France for the Aussie wilderness, has seen how the experience has affected Gillian and revealed she’s still triggered to this day.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun, Afton said: “It made her become more claustrophobic in general. She was put into a coffin with rodents and insects crawling all over her, so I’ve noticed she definitely has recall from what happened.
“There’s like triggers, you know. She’ still very much afraid of all of these insects and bugs and everything, but I think it honestly heightened her fears. It’s like a living nightmare when you’re in that show doing the trials.
“The things I saw my mum doing, I couldn’t even imagine doing myself. It’s definitely popped up in her life and caused a lot of trauma for her.”
Reflecting on some of the more trying times in the jungle, she continued: “There’s literally alligators swimming with her and mice and rats crawling on her. She had a leach attached to her and suck her blood out while she was on the show. It was quite a traumatic experience.”
Gillian, who famously fainted twice in camp, recently told us that she pretended to be pregnant to get out of doing trials, but producers didn’t believe her stories.
Her star-hunting efforts weren’t always successful and she found herself criticised by starving campmates for not delivering the meals they so desperately wanted.
It was tough for young Afton to watch her mum’s co-stars sniping behind her back in the Bush Telegraph while sitting beside the other relatives in a communal tent on site.
Each day the relations would be taken by coach from the luxury Versace resort on the Gold Coast to the TV site in the jungle to await the vote-off result.
After tucking into a hearty buffet breakfast they would then watch the show in real time with the rest of the viewership back in England to find out who would be eliminated.
Afton said: “I understood her reaction to all of it because I would have probably been the same or worse, because it’s frightening what you have to do in trials. I was very worried about her. It was hard watching because you see the celebrities talking to camera behind their backs a lot of them were talking about my mum in not such a nice way on the show.
“It was really tough watching that with all the other family members around started and then I started feeling a certain way about those family members person who was in there. It was an awkward dynamic because of that. My mum was going through a lot and they didn’t understand because they’re not doing it. It’s easy to complain she didn’t get enough stars, but like why don’t you try and do it.”
It looks Gillian could lay her jungle demons to rest next year when the much-anticipated I’m A Celebrity: All Stars airs.
The show legend will be among other favourites such as Amir Khan and Helen Flanagan for the special series.
But before then, Afton will launch her new fitness course in January in partnership with her nutritionist mum’s online wellness and weight loss club.
The free course can be found at www.aftonmckeith.com
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