Brian Dowling has admitted that being brutally fired from Big Brother was a “dark time” for him.
The Kildare native rose to fame in the early 2000s when he won two versions of the Channel 4 series – and he later went on to host the show in 2011 before being brutally axed in 2013.
The Dublin TV presenter came head to head with previous host Davina McCall, after Big Brother: Best Shows Ever aired back in June, which failed to mention Brian ever hosted the show.
Opening up about the drama to VIP Magazine, Brian admitted he was taken by surprise: “The drama over it was completely unexpected.”
“I knew the show was coming up and they asked me to send a 10-second video to say thank you to Davina McCall and Rylan,” he explained.
“My initial thought was that I didn’t leave the show on the best terms, it wasn’t handled the best way. So, I declined to send them the clip.”
Explaining what he meant by leaving the show on not the best terms, Brian told the publication: “Well, I went into the Big Brother house in 2001 and won it, which completely changed my life, it was an amazing experience.
“I went back in 2010 and was crowned the Ultimate Housemate of all time, and I went on to host for six whole seasons from 2011-2013.
“Then, I found out that I was being replaced as a presenter by reading a story in a tabloid newspaper, and it took the production company a further four weeks to confirm it.”
“After they replaced me, there was zero aftercare; not once did I receive a card, flowers, or even a ‘how are you?’ So to not get proper recognition for my role on the show, and to only be asked to send in a 10-second video, it felt personal.”
Brian continued: “Nobody knows what I went through during those six seasons on the show; nobody knows the things that were said to me or the pressure I was under.
“I carried a lot of anger and hurt for a long time because of my experience. I just shut my mouth because I was so appreciative of the opportunity, and I never stood up for myself.
“As a contestant, your mental health is looked after, but as a host… well, I felt like I was chewed up and spat out. It was a dark time for me; I left my apartment covering my face with a hoodie because I was so mortified to have been dropped like that.”
“I turned down opportunities afterwards because my confidence was so affected; I felt useless. I felt my character and how I operate professionally was put into question.
“I gained a lot of weight because I was just comfort eating. I was very uncomfortable hosting the show too, you can even see it towards the end, with my weight gain. Food is my thing when I’m agitated – people think it might be alcohol but it’s food!
“People were tweeting me asking why I wasn’t part of the show, so I admitted that I was uncomfortable to not have been even referenced in a chat between all the presenters.
“Then Davina tweeted to her 2.7 million followers that I had been asked to take part, without making it clear that it was only to supply a 10-second video clip, and that hurt me.”
He continued: “I felt like that tweet created a lot of negativity towards me. I was disappointed, as she didn’t know the reasons why I turned down sending in the video clip.
“I hosted that show for six seasons, I took it over from her when it went from Channel 4 to Channel 5, and there has only ever been three hosts; Davina, me and Emma Willis.
“In the chat they were all having on the show, it seemed like I was purposely left out and it just made me uncomfortable. All I wanted was a bit of proper recognition, something I have never asked for until now.”
“Being a contestant was incredible, but hosting the show definitely wasn’t as an amazing experience for me. There are so many things I could talk about.
“For example, there was an issue with my accent; I was told to sound less Irish. I found that bizarre; I had won the show twice, had been screen-tested to host it, and suddenly there was an issue with my accent?
“And the atmosphere became very strange; it went from hugs on set to me being frozen out, and I don’t know why. I should have put my foot down, but I didn’t.”
Brian admitted that his husband Arthur Gourounlian taught him the importance of standing up for yourself: “I’ve learned since that you should never be afraid to speak your truth.
“Arthur helped me to do that, he encouraged me to finally stand up for myself with this.”
On this week’s episode of Goss Chats, Goss.ie CEO Ali Ryan chats with award-winning makeup artist and MRS Glam creator, Michelle Regazolli Stone.
The celebrity MUA opens up about the ups and downs of living through the pandemic, and how her makeup range saved her.
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On this week’s episode of #GossChats @itsalirose chats with award-winning makeup artist and @mrsglambymichelle creator @mrsmakeup_ie The celebrity MUA opens up about the ups and downs of living through the pandemic and how her makeup range saved her. #GossChats is sponsored by @haus_of_jejuve