Nadia Sawalha says she regrets doing Big Brother, but not befriending Perez Hilton

(Image credit: dw)

Nadia Sawalha rejoined her Loose Women co-stars today, telling them she believed her friendship with Perez Hilton was the reason she was booted off Celebrity Big Brother.

The actress and TV presenter told her friends on the ITV talk show about her tough experience on Channel 5's reality programme, where she befriended unpopular celebrity blogger Perez as she said she didn't like seeing people bullied.

She admitted: "My friendship with Perez certainly brought me down, no doubt about it. I couldn't at any point change what I was doing and people were saying to me, 'You're backing the wrong horse, the audience are going to hate you.'

"I heard the boos. Everyone told me, 'Ostracise him, he'll ruin your career', I sat there thinking, 'I'm not going to come back on Loose Women. I'm not going to have a job when I come out. What can I do, pretend?' No, I'm not going to do that."

Nadia conceded that she was often the viewer sitting at home passing judgment on contestants, so had no problem with fans of Celebrity Big Brother forming opinions about her.

She said: "Take all the fire, burn it at me. I've judged people when they've been in there. I accept the judgement. One thing I would say is I respect what people feel about me by what they've seen."

Adding that she hadn't seen all of Perez's bad behaviour in the house, which included simulating sexual positions outside of a window with some of his housemates watching on the other side, she said: "I'm not his mum... we're not Sonny and Cher. I've got a lovely husband. That's why I take the judgement.

"I'm not going to sit here moaning and crying because if I was watching the show, I would have said the same thing. What I would say is that I was often between a rock and a hard place... Every time I saw something that he did [that was irritating], I did say it to him, but I'm not his mum. It was very warped in there and people were saying unless you control him [he'll carry on], which is just nuts."

Nadia continued: "I made a mistake in that I went from one who judges, to one that is judged. I should never have crossed over to the other side. I'm so gutted - I kept going in the diary room saying, 'Why aren't I at home? This would have been my favourite series.' Trouble is, I was inside.

"It's going to be really difficult for me to go back and judge other people [by watching the show as a viewer] because it's so different. It was the most insane experience of my life."


Patrick McLennan

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.