HE is the I’m A Celebrity hunk whose dozy gaffes have seen him compared with reality TV dimwit Joey Essex.
But behind Hollyoaks actor Owen Warner’s one-liners and impressive six-pack is just a sweet lad who spends too much time on TikTok, reckons his on-screen girlfriend Jorgie Porter.
In an exclusive chat with HOAR, Jorgie, who plays Theresa McQueen in the Channel 4 soap and was a jungle campmate in 2015, said: “He really is that daft on set.
“He is so funny. What you’re seeing in the jungle is exactly who he is.
“He’s just so fun and young and believes anything, bless him. I’ve had a few people ask me if he’s putting it on but I can assure you he’s not.
“He doesn’t get upset if he doesn’t know something — he’s just open to learning, which is so endearing.
“He tells me all the time he learns a lot of things from TikTok, and I’m, like, ‘Wow!’ He makes me laugh so much with some of the things he comes out with.”
Owen, 23, who plays Romeo Nightingale in Hollyoaks, has had I’m A Celeb viewers in fits of laughter with a stream of comedy gaffes.
During the opening show, singer Boy George said his fellow campmate and telly host Scarlette Douglas was from property show A Place In HOAR. Owen then asked: “Whereabouts?” and Boy George replied: “No, the TV show.”
Owen also admitted he had no idea about the term “jet lag”, confessing how he had instead been saying “jet lack” his whole life.
Another campmate, Radio X presenter Chris Moyles, has even suckered him into believing he is a former national dance champion.
But Owen is no different behind the scenes on Hollyoaks, it seems.
Jorgie, who is heavily pregnant with her first child, said: “One thing he said which blew my mind was, ‘So the baby is upside down in your belly right now but when the baby comes out, he’ll be upright and he won’t be upside down any more?’ I was like, ‘OK’.
“He’ll go into theories and things. And sometimes you can tease him about stuff, which we’ve seen with the Chris Moyles professional dance thing. But that’s just his vulnerability.
“I see him as one of the kids. He and Hollyoaks actor Malique Thompson-Dwyer are like Beavis and Butt-Head. I remember saying it to him one day and he was like, ‘Who are they? He had no idea.
“I’ll often tell a joke and it goes straight over his head. But you can’t not love him, there’s no malice with Owen, he’s just this really nice guy. He’s never nasty, he’s not got a bad bone in his body. He’s got such a genuine heart. The cast and crew love him.”
Viewers have likened Owen to gaffe-prone ex-Towie star Joey Essex, who finished fourth on I’m A Celeb in 2013 — after causing much mirth by mistaking a lizard for a dragon.
Appearing in 2019 on the BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef, Joey was so proud of his bread and butter pudding, he said it deserved a “Michelin scar” — confusing it with the industry’s famous Michelin star award.
Joey has also been a regular on ITV2 panel show Celebrity Juice over the years. Once asked, “What country borders Wales?” he shot back: “Uh, London?” Quizzed on how many sides a square has, after saying, ‘I know this one, trust me’, he ventured, “Six!”
‘Just being himself’
Whether or not Joey, 32, really is so dumb or just playing it for laughs, he has made millions from his foolishness.
And Jorgie said: “I love Joey but Owen is one of his own. I like them both but they are both very different.
“You laugh your head off. Owen’s not putting on a show, he is just being himself, which is what you want.
“What is brilliant about the jungle is there’s no way you can put on an act, as everyone would see through it and you wouldn’t be able to keep it up.”
Jorgie has also found it hilarious to see viewers ogle Owen’s buff body — as kissing him every day at work is not quite as sexy as it sounds.
Every time she has had to film raunchy scenes with him he has had to navigate her huge baby bump.
She said: “Owen is very good-looking and now he’s in the jungle everyone is like, ‘Oh my god he’s getting naked in the shower’, but that’s just a normal day on Hollyoaks — a lot of the boys just walk around in boxer shorts.”
But she added: “When it comes to kissing, it’s never that sexy on set. We’ve had the added problem of my big belly to navigate. He’ll be coming towards me, he’s got to get around the bump, and then go for the lips.
“I’m 12 years older than him too, he’s like a little brother to me, so it’s not really been, ‘Oh, I get to snog this fitty’, and of course I’m pregnant too. I’ve also got a fiancé now, I’m nearly married.”
Jorgie was thrilled when she learned Owen was going on I’m A Celeb — now back in the Aussie jungle after a stint in Wales during the pandemic.
She said of the show: “I’m a big fan of the jungle anyway, and am so glad it’s back in Australia. Whenever we have someone from the cast go in, we are always so excited.
“And none of us were surprised that he was the first one in the jungle shower. It was brilliant. It’s funny because he doesn’t realise how good- looking he is. He’s not someone that swans about the set.
“He’s such a professional to work with, always knows his lines, he’s just brilliant. I’d love it if he won. At Hollyoaks we’re always a bit of the underdog and just love it when we win anything.”
One win in the bag for Hollyoaks already is Owen’s for Best Soap Newcomer at the 2018 Digital Spy Reader Awards — which he got just months after joining the soap.
Owen has had a rapid rise of fame.
He landed the role of Romeo on primetime Hollyoaks — his first paid acting job — at the age of 19.
Scriptwriters then spotted his talent and quickly included Romeo in a string of dramatic storylines, including a false imprisonment for the death of Mac Nightingale (David Easter) and a rocky relationship with Cher Winters (Bethannie Hare).
Such success can spell trouble for a young actor, but Owen has his head screwed on.
Born in June 1999 in Leicester, he attended the local high school before studying performing arts in nearby Melton Mowbray at SMB College Group’s Melton Campus.
He has two elder brothers — model Louie and recording artist and video director Jake — who have shared loving snaps online as Owen has tackled I’m A Celeb.
Louie wrote on one throwback photo: “I thank the Lord every day for giving me two incredibly supportive brothers who I’m so proud of. Both thought of a dream, and chased it. I admire you.”
Giving a further look into his close bond with his family, Owen explained to HOAR he has a secret signal to communicate with his loved ones back home during his time in the jungle — stating: “I will give Mum a little one of these [makes a half heart with his hand]. It is half a love heart and she does the other half.” He is currently single but does not seem to struggle for attention and has enjoyed a string of celebrity romances since bursting into the spotlight.
Owen began romancing Hollyoaks co-star Stephanie Davis, 29, in December 2018 and they quickly fell head over heels. After a month of dating, they moved in together, along with Stephanie’s son Caben, who she shares with ex Jeremy McConnell.