I starved and lost 20lbs in just 2 weeks – all I could think about was food
I starved and lost 20lbs in just 2 weeks – all I could think about was food

Three years on from his I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! stint, singer Russell Watson has dished the dirt on his experience – revealing that the lack of food in camp hit him hard

It’s been three years since Russell Watson moving his fellow campmates, moved from the Australian jungle to a freezing cold castle in north Wales because of the pandemic.

One of the stand-out moments from that series was classical singer Russell Watson moving his fellow campmates, including Giovanna Fletcher, Beverley Callard and Victoria Derbyshire, to tears with his rendition of Nessun Dorma.

And when we catch up with Russell – who was the fifth celeb to leave the show – he remembers his time in the castle with fond memories and is looking forward to watching this series as a viewer.
Russell Watson on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
Three years on from his I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! stint, singer Russell Watson says that the lack of food in camp hit him hard.

“I look back on my time in the castle with a great deal of affection, I really did love it,” he says. “There were elements of it that I didn’t enjoy, but even with the trials that I did, I still enjoyed it. I had a great time.”

“My wife and I love the show, so we’ll definitely be watching this year,” the 56-year-old tells OK!.

Russell grew close to his campmates, who also included Vernon Kay and Shane Richie, and he still keeps in touch with all of them to this day.

“We have a WhatsApp group and we were all on it recently, congratulating Vernon for having the most successful radio show in the UK,” he shares. “We were all writing ‘Well done, mate’ and ‘Congratulations’. They’re a great group of people.”

During his experience, the singer lost nearly 2st in weight and said the hunger and cold weather were particularly difficult to navigate.
Russell on stage
Russell found fame back in 1999 (Image: Essex Chronicle)

“Most mornings, I would wake up and use my fingers to make a little face in the ice on the windows so I could see out – it was that cold.

“By far, the most difficult aspect of the show is the starvation. I lost 20lb in just over two weeks – that’s a lot of weight. All you can think about when you’re hungry is food. It can make you feel quite grumpy and quite tired.

“I’m 6ft plus and a big lad, so I take a bit of fuelling up – 600 calories is lunch for me, not a day. That’s what I’d have in my sandwich. The food there is vile, that part really wasn’t nice.”

But, despite the lack of food, Russell says he would consider going on the show again if the opportunity arose. “I’d love to return. I’ve not been asked, but that would be something I would love to do,” he admits.

Since finding fame in 1999 following a series of appearances at high-profile sporting events, Russell has gone on to achieve worldwide stardom, performing for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, President George Bush at the White House, and for the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace. He is also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, which was set up by King Charles in 1976.

But at the height of his success in 2006, the singer was diagnosed with a brain tumour and a second tumour was found a year later. He says the driving force behind his recovery was to get out of hospital for his daughter’s birthday.
Russell and wife Louise Harris
Russell shared that he and his wife ‘love’ the ITV show (Image: FilmMagic)

He explains, “The whole concept was, ‘If you can make it to the end of that corridor, and walk up the first flight of steps, then you’re ready to go home.’ So that was my ambition at that moment in time, to get
out in time for my daughter’s birthday, which I did.”

Russell – who shares daughters Rebecca and Hannah with his first wife Helen – moved with wife Louise to
a 15-acre farm in Cheshire, complete with horses and alpacas. “It’s heaven on earth, I love it here. I absolutely love this place. It’s one of those locations where you have to see it to appreciate its real beauty.

“We’ve got expansive woodland down the side of the property, which is also ours, and then you have this tapestry of the green hills as far as the eye can see. This amazing and ever-changing skyline is right here.”

The star – whose debut album The Voice held the No1 spot on the UK charts for a record 52 weeks – has also sung alongside Sir Paul McCartney, Meat Loaf and even Luciano Pavarotti. But he admits that away from the glitz and glamour, he appreciates the slow pace that life in the countryside offers.

“Many years ago when I was living in Wilmslow, which is the footballers part of the world, I used to get home from a show, take my shoes off, put my feet up and watch a bit of Netflix or Top Gear , or maybe even switch my PlayStation on and shoot a few zombies. Now, I get home, I put my boots on and I go outside and start doing whatever job needs doing. I’m now a fully fledged fence fixer, what with all the animals that we have,” he says.

Russell is an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, which was set up by King Charles in 1976

Asked whether his life on stage and life on the farm make him feel like two different people, Russell responds, “I feel like 10 different people. There’s the dad – I’m a father to two girls and even though they are grown up they’re still very reliant on me; the bank of dad, dad’s taxis, agony uncle dad. Then there’s the professional dog walker, professional fence fixer, professional gardener… Honestly, I can do it all!”

Most importantly, he loves being a family man. “If I have the opportunity to stay at home rather than stay in a hotel then I will definitely be at home,” he says.

Work-wise, Russell is currently on a UK tour and doesn’t have any plans to slow down soon. “I’ve done a lot of tours since 2007. I never stop touring. I have breaks in between, but it never stops. But I love it.”

So with his busy work schedule, will we see him on another reality TV show any time soon? “Not the skating one. I am dangerous, so there’s no way I’d do the skating one. I’ve been asked a few times to do Strictly , and a few people have said to me I should do it, but I can’t dance.

“I know a lot of people go on it that can’t dance, but look what happens to them – look at Les Dennis. But I’d do something like a baking or cooking show, I’m quite a dab hand in the kitchen.”