Gemma Collins regrets creating TV show about her teenage self-harm as she feared burdening her mother

Bintano
8 Min Read

Gemma Collins has claimed she never wanted to make a show about her teenage self-harm. 

In 2022, Gemma was asked by Channel 4 to make the show, Gemma Collins: Self Harm and Me, about her problem with cutting herself when she was a teenager.

But The Only Way is Essex star now claims she ‘never wanted to do it’ as she was worried her mother would have to deal with difficult questions she wasn’t ready for.

The Only Way is Essex star, 43, told the Mail’s Everything I Know About Me podcast: ‘I never wanted to do it. I wasn’t ready to deal with it and I didn’t want to drag it up because it was very painful.

‘I did it in the end because a production company promised me the earth and I had another channel saying, “You’ll get this and that, just please do the self-harm show”.

Gemma Collins regrets creating TV show about her teenage self-harm as she feared burdening her mother

Gemma Collins has claimed she never wanted to make a show about her teenage self-harm

The Only Way is Essex star now claims she 'never wanted to do it' as she was worried her mother Joan (pictured) would have to deal with difficult questions she wasn't ready for

The Only Way is Essex star now claims she ‘never wanted to do it’ as she was worried her mother Joan (pictured) would have to deal with difficult questions she wasn’t ready for

‘If you’re going to give me something, I’ll give you something – but I never got that something back.

‘I’m one of the strongest out of the reality stars and yet people still tried it on with me.’

Gemma’s 68-year-old mother Joan, with whom she has a close relationship, was featured in the documentary and quizzed as to why she didn’t do more to support her daughter during the self-harm.

In the documentary, Joan’s defense was, “Life was busy and everything was going on and you seemed ok.”

Reflecting on the scene, Gemma told the Everything I Know About Me podcast: ‘I know what the show was doing and it wasn’t the truth.

‘We were led up the garden path, they tried to mug my mum off.

‘My mum doesn’t want to hear her daughter self-harmed. She wasn’t to blame for it, but that’s what the show was indicating and she said to me she would never go on television again.

‘She was very upset and that’s why I will hold a vendetta against them [TV bosses] until the day that I die.

‘It was really sad listening to my mum saying to producers, “Oh, please, don’t do this or don’t do that. Please don’t make out I’m a bad person”.’

The Only Way is Essex star, 43, told the Mail's Everything I Know About Me podcast: 'I never wanted to do it. I wasn't ready to deal with it and I didn't want to drag it up because it was very painful.'

The Only Way is Essex star, 43, told the Mail’s Everything I Know About Me podcast: ‘I never wanted to do it. I wasn’t ready to deal with it and I didn’t want to drag it up because it was very painful.’

‘Because she’s not, she’s only done good for me, she has nothing to do with the self-harm, but the comments she got after, I told her not to look.’

Speaking about her mistreatment in the industry, Gemma said she was forced to walk away from her ITV spin-off show, Diva, after producers fed her cold fish and chips and made her ‘feel like a piece of c**p’.

In 2018, while Gemma was still on TOWIE, she did a one-off episode produced by Lime Pictures called Gemma Collins: Diva Espana and following its successful viewing figures the show became a franchise.

Even after she left TOWIE in 2019 the spin-off continued with various versions including Diva on Lockdown, Diva Forever and the final special Diva for Christmas aired in December 2020.

But Gemma has now revealed she was ‘hurt’ and pushed to quit by both a growing disillusionment with life as a reality star and mistreatment from the network.

She recalled: ‘We were making a song with Darren Day and I thought it would be nice to have a wind machine, now to hire one of those it’s £50, and I was told I needed to pay for it myself. And then I thought, ‘F*** off I’m out of here, you’re taking the piss.’

‘I can remember being tossed a bag of cold fish and chips on the last day of filming and it stunk. I’d already had to pay for the wind machine, I sat there and ate the chip and I just rang my agent and said, “This is the last one. “

‘It’s about treating me the right way because I’ll give you everything you want, I enjoy it. I’m never going to run a library or a bank but I can entertain you. So I rang my agent Mark and said, “I can’t keep being made to feel like a piece of c***”.’

She also quit because, after nine years on reality TV, producers were ‘beginning to scrape the barrel’ for new material with her and ‘my life wasn’t moving on’.

'I'm one of the strongest out of the reality stars and yet people still tried it on with me.' (Gemma pictured getting emotional on the show)

‘I’m one of the strongest out of the reality stars and yet people still tried it on with me.’ (Gemma pictured getting emotional on the show)

In 2018, while Gemma was still on TOWIE, she did a one-off episode produced by Lime Pictures called Gemma Collins: Diva Espana and following its successful viewing figures the show became a franchise (pictured on TOWIE)

In 2018, while Gemma was still on TOWIE, she did a one-off episode produced by Lime Pictures called Gemma Collins: Diva Espana and following its successful viewing figures the show became a franchise (pictured on TOWIE)

She said: ‘I remember sticking tinsel on Chloe Sim’s astroturf Christmas tree and I looked at her and she looked at me as if to say, ‘What the f*** are we doing?’

‘I just said to my agent, I feel like I’ve outgrown this.’

Since her Diva franchise Gemma has appeared in a BBC nature series, had a stint as an agony aunt on The Big Breakfast and was interviewed by Judi Love.

A source close to Diva said the show was not recommissioned by ITV and Gemma did not quit.

A spokesperson from Channel 4 told the Mail: ‘The film was made with Gemma’s full cooperation, sharing her story in her own words, including through conversations with her family. 

‘Filmed over several weeks, the film was made in consultation with a mental health charity and Gemma Collins was supported with psychological support available before, during and after filming. Gemma was not coerced to take part and gave informed consent for her participation, and she took part in several activities to promote the film after viewing it.’

Listen to our shocking interview with Gemma Collins in full below or on Mail Podcasts:

Listen to Gemma Collins on the Mail’s Everything I Know About Me podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts . New episodes released every Thursday, with episode 3 available now.

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