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By Nicola Methven
THE entertainer stopped taking his anti-depressant pills – because the lack of food caused them to make him ill.
FUNNYMAN Brian Conley walked out of I’m a Celebrity because he couldn’t take his anti-depressant pills on an empty stomach.
He was rushed from the jungle camp straight to hospital – where he woke from sedation with a drip in his arm and his worried wife at his bedside.
Viewers had seen the 51-year-old comedian break down in tears before his shock exit.
But yesterday he revealed that off-screen things were even worse.
Fully recovered with several days’ rest and a few hot meals under his belt, Brian told how the campmates were slowly starving last week as Helen Flanagan failed trial after trial.
And while all the contestants were suffering on a meagre diet of rice and beans, Brian was in a living hell.
He had to eat proper meals to help him digest the anti-depressant tablets he has taken daily for 15 years.
The severe lack of nutrition meant the pills were making him ill – so in the grip of gnawing hunger and sleep deprivation, he stopped taking them.
The result was some sort of collapse last Monday which saw him rushed to hospital.
Brian said: “I had an examination and they found out I had malnutrition and I was suffering from exhaustion.
“That’s what the doctors said. They gave me a tablet that would knock out a horse for two days. I woke up with a drip in my arm thinking, ‘What on earth has happened here?’ – all because of a lovely, fluffy show that Ant and Dec do.
“I can tell you it’s not fluffy out there – it’s really tough.
“I felt bad because it was out of my control. It was their decision.
“I couldn’t lie to them, I’m an honest guy. I couldn’t go, ‘Yes, I’ve taken my tablets, course I have’.
“I feel very proud that I stuck to my guns. I didn’t saunter out straight into the Versace hotel – I had to be sedated because of extreme exhaustion.”
Brian insists he is now free of the medication he has been taking since the death of his dad Colin, a former London cabbie who was his manager and mentor.
He added: “I feel very proud that I got through it and it actually made me a much stronger man. You’re looking at someone who doesn’t need anti-depressants.”
Brian now plans to champion mental health issues – starting by auctioning the chair he used in the jungle for charity.
Looking forward to appearing as Robinson Crusoe in pantomime next month, he beamed: “Don’t worry, I’ll be there.