Darren Day talks about Celebrity Big Brother and opens up about his bad boy past. Celebrity Big Brother can be seen nightly on Channel 5.
Why did you want to do CBB?
There's a perception of me that is not very good, and I suppose I'd like people to see what I'm really like now. I've been through a lot of ups and downs in my life, and I'm big enough and ugly enough to know that you can't be liked by everybody. But I want people to have an opinion on what I'm really like.
What do you think the public perception of you is?
Well it's funny because there are two contrasting images: the clean-cut boy next door, musical theatre star, who used to get compared to Cliff Richard. And then there's the womanising, drunken, drug-taking love rat. I virtually coined that phrase. I'd never heard of it until people started calling me that. But my wife and I have been together ten years, and I'm a devoted husband and daddy now. 'Love rat' is not a phrase I particularly want my kids to hear. That's so far in my past.
What's the strangest thing you've read about yourself?
People say I was engaged nine times. I wasn't, I was engaged three times before my wife. I know that's still a lot! I also read that I gave an engagement ring to Anna and then gave it to Suzanne, which is totally not true. I was never engaged to Anna, we never even spoke about marriage. But there's no doubt I was a bad boy and I completely hold my hands up to that.
Was it hard to earn your wife’s trust initially?
My wife and her family gave me a clean slate from day one. She took me at face value. I’m very happily married now – I suppose there was a time when I didn’t think I’d be able to do that, but I have and I’m very happy in life. I’m now doing some diverse work I’m very proud of - playing a villain in a big movie I’ve just done one minute, playing a drag queen in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, a new album, a new book – I feel really lucky.
Was there a period when your career and earnings were going wrong?
Yeah, I lost everything. I was financially and emotionally stripped. When I met my wife I had lost it all. My ex-partner Suzanne and my son were living in the house, that had gone horribly wrong. I think it would be fair to say I’d hit rock bottom.
Is there anything that worries you about doing Celebrity Big Brother?
Everything! All I hope is that I’ll be true to myself. It worries me that I can’t cook – I’ll have to be the washer-upper.
What do you think your role will be in the house?
I suppose a bit of everything. I will try and not get involved in other people’s arguments – the only time I would get involved is if I felt someone was being bullied.
Have you decided you won’t talk about your exes in the house?
I hope that I wouldn’t do anything that would be seen as being ungentlemanly. I’ve bumped into all of my exes over the years. I went to my hairdresser's wedding and there were four or five of my exes there with their now-partners. The funniest one was Isla [Fisher] because I’m a massive Sacha Baron Cohen fan. I was a big Ali G fan, way back when he started on the 11 O’Clock Show – long before they got together, and I regularly quote Borat! So when I bumped into her, there was the awkwardness of bumping into an ex you’ve not seen for a few years and meeting the new partner, but I also wanted to say ‘Listen mate, I think you’re bloody amazing.’ It was great to meet him. Anna’s mum and dad I’ve kept in touch with and we’ve just wished each other a happy new year, so things aren’t as bad as people may think. With all of my relationships, we had a very public gettogether, relationship and break up.
What are your thoughts on some of the rumoured names in the house?
I don’t think I’ve ever met Danniella Westbrook, but I’m aware of her story because we’ve both had similar issues over the years. My wife read her book and said it was an amazing read. Perhaps I could have a chat with her because I'm on the same path, but a bit further down that path. I would be humbled if I could help her in any way or listen to her. The only person I’ve met previously is John Partridge. John and I met at An Audience With Barry Manilow. We both have a musical theatre background. I like to think that I would go in there with no preconceptions of the other housemates because I hope they wouldn’t have any of me.
Do you think you could win?
Not really. I’d love to go the distance, then I know that the public’s perception has changed, but I think it’s unlikely, so the best I am hoping for is that if there are boo’s on the way in, there might be a few cheers on the way out. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to do it.
Is your wife supportive?
My wife is my rock. If I hadn’t met her, I would not be on this planet – I was on borrowed time as it was. She supports me in what I do, but she’s still very nervous! We’ve watched the last three series, and they’ve been great – that makes it exciting because we’re fans of the show, but also we kind of know the possibilities because you’ve seen the rows that happen and how things that in the real world would seem like a speck of dust get magnified into a huge issue.