Fans of Anne Hegerty are used to seeing the British TV star as the very stern Governess on popular quiz show The Chase, but she’s been pushed to her limits as a contestant on the latest series of the UK’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
On the very first day of the hit show, the 60-year-old already appeared to be cracking under the pressure, breaking down in tears and admitting she was close to leaving the show. Anne has spoken openly about how her autism would impact her time in the “jungle”, but she’s since gone on to become a favourite with other contestants and millions of viewers watching at home.
In scenes that aired on the most recent episode of the reality show in the UK, the Chaser admitted to fellow contestant Nick Knowles she wasn’t sure why she’d signed up to appear on the show in the first place and the touching reason why she hasn’t quit.
“I spent the first three days asking myself that and on the first night I lay awake all night crying just thinking ‘what have I done?’” she said, according to The Mirror. “So I started to list all the people I was going to disappoint. Now I can imagine staying until I get voted off.”
On the first day during a canoe challenge, Anne’s team’s boat had capsized into snake-infested waters, causing them to lose and spend a night at a less-than-impressive jungle location. It was here where a heavily sunburned Anne first started to struggle to life in her new home.
Anne’s own family had also expressed their concerns over the star’s time on the reality show, admitting to the Daily Mail they knew she would be finding it difficult.
“I know she will find it difficult, but we are all rooting for her,” Anne’s Uncle Richard, 87, told the news outlet. “It is very much out of her comfort zone and to be honest I am surprised that she agreed to go on the show.”
Meanwhile, her Chase co-star Jenny Ryan also tweeted her support.
“I hope everybody watching at home appreciates just how far @anne_hegerty is going outside of her comfort zone,” she tweeted. “I’m proud of her for being so incredibly brave and challenging herself.”
Despite her struggles, Anne has continued to educate those in the jungle and viewers at home about her Asperger’s syndrome. In an episode last week, she explained how it had impacted her love life in a frank conversation with Scottish-American actor John Barrowman. The TV star, who is single, said: “When I was working out that I was autistic it clarified a lot of things for me and one of those things was ‘that’s why I never seem to be able to make it work, that’s why I always feel claustrophobic in a relationship’.
“That’s why I kind of think that’s probably not intended for me.”
There’s also been fun along the way, with Anne also competing in Bushtucker Trials to win food for the camp. These tasks have pushed Anne further out of her comfort zone.
Her most recent challenge was the Hellish Hospital task, where she was forced to face a room full of snakes, spiders, birds, critters and offal in her quest to find stars to feed her camp.