JEREMY Kyle has revealed that being sacked from his ITV show saw him on pills for anxiety.
Jeremy, 56, believes he was made a scapegoat when his daytime hit was axed after a participant’s suspected suicide.
He said last night it left him “completely devastated”, adding: “I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house or even open the curtains.”
Kyle admits he thought stars complaining about their mental health struggles should “get a grip” — until he found himself in similar turmoil.
The axed presenter, 56, has told how he spiralled into depression after The Jeremy Kyle Show was binned following the death of a guest.
He revealed: “I used to think ‘get a grip’ when some celebrities talked about those sort of problems.
“But suddenly I realised first-hand you can’t always do that. I never thought they would affect me like they did.
“That was a shock — but I’ve always said, ‘If you have a problem, admit it, and then seek the proper help’. So that’s what I did.”
Jeremy, engaged to Victoria, has broken his silence two-and-a-half years after his daytime show — where he confronted guests with problems — was cancelled.
'All caught up with me at once'
To mark his return to broadcasting, with a weekday drivetime show on talkRADIO, he explained in the first interview since his sacking:
- HE could not bear to open the curtains or leave the house for fear of reprisals;
- HOW he only sought medical help for depression and anxiety after Victoria encouraged him;
- FRIENDS including Piers Morgan and Declan Donnelly were quick to support him — but many kept their distance despite working with him for years, and;
- HOW he was determined to turn his life around after the arrival of a baby son.
Recalling the incident which saw his show canned after 14 years, he said: “I’m not asking for any sympathy, but being completely honest, yes, it was a very difficult time.
“I was completely devastated at first and then I became completely demotivated. Every ounce of energy seemed to have gone and I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the house or even open the curtains.
“After Vic encouraged me I eventually did go to the doctor because of how low I was feeling — and I’ve never done that in my life. But it was the only way I could get myself through.
“Critics will say I got a taste of my own medicine but I’d been through a fair amount up until that point — and I guess it all caught up with me at once.”
Jeremy said he had been hit by a series of setbacks, beginning with the cancellation of the Stateside version of his UK hit in 2013.
He recalled: “I lost the show in America after two years, I got cancer, went through quite a public divorce, my mother passed away, and then I lost my job in the UK — all while still trying to be a good dad at home.
It’s been awful to feel so scapegoated, and without being able to have my say about the accusations that often seemed to be levelled only at me.
“So I accepted the help from the doctor, she was brilliant — she diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to say I accepted the treatment on offer.
“I needed it for those months. It got really bad, I’m not scared to admit that. It got me back up and out, and helped me start to rebuild things.” Jeremy’s daily talk show had aired for 17 series when guest Steve Dymond died shortly before his episode was due to air.
The construction worker overdosed on morphine while suffering an underlying heart problem. He applied to be on the show to prove he had not cheated on his ex — but failed a lie-detector test.
His family claim his appearance on the show was too much for him to cope with. An inquest remains ongoing, with a coroner set to hear evidence. The lengthy process still prevents Jeremy from speaking in detail about it, though he said: “When the time is right and it is appropriate to do so, I will have my say.”
However he believes he was made a scapegoat in the fallout. He said: “I don’t want to sound ‘woe is me’, and as I’ve said the whole thing was a terrible tragedy — devastating for Steve Dymond’s friends and family, of course, and for the many people who worked on the show.
“But it did hit me hard. And it’s been awful to feel so scapegoated, and without being able to have my say about the accusations that often seemed to be levelled only at me.
“I’ve felt hunted and made out to be responsible for everything that ever took place around that show. But I was just the face of it.
“A hundred people lost their jobs that day, and I felt truly awful for them too and worried for their futures. But I felt completely alone. When I was told they were cancelling it completely, my first reaction was a sort of incredulous shock, and then really just devastation. And then suddenly I felt like I was on the periphery of it.
'Going to get through all this'
“It was all being taken out of my hands after all those years of hard work — I couldn’t defend myself and I couldn’t change anything. On top of that, in the morning on the exact same day, my partner Vic told me she was pregnant with our baby, Oliver.
“I remember thinking, ‘Oh, err, great — this is the absolute best news at the absolute worst time . . . ’ But Vic being Vic just said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to deal with all this, and we’re going to get through all this, no matter what’.
“For months I just didn’t leave the house. I kept the curtains closed and didn’t want to even do normal things. The whole country’s media was outside the front door, and I understand why, but it was hell. I was like a rabbit in headlights.
“There were TV news microphones coming over the back fence and everybody’s having their say — and I just had to bunker down, even though my instinct was to come out and defend myself.
“When I did eventually force myself out, I found myself sneaking and skulking around in fear — baseball cap, collar up, glasses, hiding away from the world. After everything that was being said, I was terrified of the reaction I’d get on the streets, especially when I was out with my kids.”
Jeremy joined ITV in 2005, and hosted his talk show alongside documentaries, consumer affairs programming and guest stints on Good Morning Britain. His daytime show had its critics — who he pointed out have “every right to switch off and stop watching” — but became instant ratings hits.
Despite his long service to the network, he said many star names and senior execs were quick to distance themselves after his show was cancelled.
He recalled: “It didn’t take long for some people I’ve known for many, many years to just disappear. Some people were brilliant — Piers Morgan reached out straight away because he’s that sort of guy, and he was brilliant.
It didn’t take long for some people I’ve known for many, many years to just disappear. Some people were brilliant — Piers Morgan reached out straight away because he’s that sort of guy
"Kate Garraway, who is just extraordinary and has been through the most awful time herself recently, still takes time to get in touch, and I’ve helped her with her kids, too. Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford were amazing, so was Rob Rinder, and Declan Donnelly.
“But there were also lots who just never got in touch again even though we had worked together for so many years — it’s very, very telling.
"It’s a strange situation because you don’t really want to talk to people when something like that happens, but then you’re annoyed when they don’t call too.”
He is quick to stress he is “fair game” for criticism after years of tackling guests on screen.
He says: “I stand by something I wrote in my book — ‘if you put yourself out there and it goes wrong, you have to face up to that’. I took the big salary money and all the perks. If I had wanted to swap it for a conventional nine-to-five job, I could have done.
“So I get that people wanted to have a go at me. But it did start to feel like a massive pile-on and one I’ve never really been allowed to have my say on.
“It was a huge issue and a big story, I understand that, and it asked a lot of questions of television productions and practices as a whole. But I became the focal point of all the criticism. Even MPs were taking shots at me in the House of Commons — and at the time when my anxiety disorder was at its worst.”
He is now launching a show on talkRADIO, and hopes people will now accept him for who he is.
I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to have great belief in the British people.
Jeremy said: “I’m open and honest about who I am and the public know that. What I’ve found, now that I’ve come out from the other side, is that I’ve never had so much public support.
“Apart from one very posh lady in Windsor who called me ‘obscene’, I’ve had so much positivity from ordinary people — guys calling out to me as I walk past, real warmth. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to have great belief in the British people.
“They’re very switched on, they sense right from wrong, and they decide who they’re prepared to stand by and not.”
You’re not alone
Every 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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