Reality stars feel driven to hide their mental health problems and often struggle to make money while keeping up a frenetic drug-fuelled party lifestyle, Andrew Brady has claimed.
Growing paranoia about loose-lipped friends, money worries and feeling unable to ask for help are just some of the problems dogging reality stars after they come out of the shows that make them famous, he said in the wake of Sophie Gradon’s suicide and Mike Thalassitis’ tragic death at the weekend.
Andrew, who starred in both The Apprentice and Celebrity Big Brother before having a high-profile whirlwind romance and engagement with Caroline Flack, wrote in his blog that more potential stars could lose their lives if they don’t heed the warnings.
Although the vast majority of production companies insist on screening potential contestants with a psychological evaluation, Andrew admits it’s easy to fake being mentally sound.
"My assessment was an informal and pre-planned chat, but can I be honest with you? When you have gone through extensive auditions to get to this point, paid for the countless train rides and missed work so much you need it to work out, do you think you’re going to mess up your opportunity acting like you can’t hack it in a 20-minute meeting?" he wrote.
"No, you’ll be whoever they want you to be, you have been swept up by the 1 million they say that you could make in the first twelve months."
Producers then get to control the narrative once their cast has started filming, and can edit 30-minute arguments into three minutes of telly gold – even if it means misrepresenting one of the parties involved in the fight, Andrew went on.
He also took aim at nasty newspaper headlines, fake stories and online trolls who harass reality stars over what they’ve watched, heard and read.
"I have had some horrific messages sent to me…while everyone tells you not to read them, humans are curious, they caused me a world of pain and I am sure many others," wrote Andrew.
And while the likes of the Love Island cast make their post-show lives look glamorous and exciting, the actual reality can be downright disturbing.
"Many expect life after reality to involve free holidays, surgery, clothes, award ceremonies and lots of work for years to come" Andrew continued.
"Keep in mind, the tax man and your agent both take 20%, and most of your money comes from (pretty well paid) personal appearances. Of course, PAs won’t do your relationships any good, and there is lots of time spent travelling or alone in hotels. Papers claim you sleep with people while the reality is you are in a hotel room with your ears ringing missing the regular life you aspired to get away from."
Paranoia about friends and family gossiping and worrying about accidentally breaching the non-disclosure agreement many celebs have to sign only worsen the problems, he said.
And while some stars – like Dom Lever and Jessica Shears – can make seven-figure sums from savvy business deals off the back of their fame, others won’t make anything like that amount of cash.
"Money comes as easy as it goes. Designer clothes and never-ending night outs, plus the TV industry is drowning in party drugs that only result in more self-loathing and depression," Andrew added.
"All it takes is some real trauma in your life like the loss of a relative or someone you were close to and then it all gets too much, you feel like you have no one around you who understands and it’s easy to spiral further and further in to a dark and depressing place. Then the absolute worst option may look like the easiest."
Andrew’s insights come after ITV insisted it does have checks in place to prevent their young stars from spiralling.
In a statement issued two days after Mike’s death, a spokesman said: "Care for our Islanders is a process the show takes very seriously and is a continuous process for all those taking part in the show.
"We ensure that all of our contributors are able to access psychological support before, during and after appearing on the show. The programme will always provide ongoing support when needed and where appropriate.
"We also discuss at length with all of our Islanders, before and after the show, how their lives might change and they have access to support and advice to help with this."
Last summer, after Sophie Gradon’s shocking suicide, Love Island bosses rushed to contact every Islander to conduct a check on their welfare, after Sophie’s pal Malin Andersson slammed the show for not doing enough to support her mate.
Mirror Online has contacted reps for CBB and The Apprentice for comment.
RIP Mike Thalassitis
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