Even if you’re not an OG viewer of ITV reality series The Only Way Is Essex, you’ll most likely still know that the show birthed TV personality Joey Essex. He made his debut in Season 2 of TOWIE as a secondary character, but quickly gained popularity with viewers and was made a lead. From 2011 to 2013, the fashionable Essex gambolled around, well, Essex, making trouble and breaking hearts.
He popularised and even released a single based on the slang term “Reem,” and had a highly publicised, on-and-off-again relationship with TOWIE co-star Sam Faiers. So, given how popular the show made him, why did Essex quit the series?
After nearly three years in Brentwood, Essex announced that he was quitting the show in favour of the Australian outback with I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! A source was quoted as telling The Sun, “Joey dropped the bombshell the other day. He loves being on the show and it has made him a star. But lots of people have been offering him other stuff.” They continued: “He’s seen what the jungle did for Mark Wright and he wants a slice of the action.” Wright was also a former TOWIE star who had quit in 2011.
Meanwhile, speaking out in 2022, Essex had some strong words for his old TV show. In an interview with OK! he said: “It’s just not the show that it was when I first started, I don’t even recognise it anymore. “It’s just a bit drama-less, there’s not enough going on. I’m sure that if I ever did go back to the show that I would bring back a lot of entertainment – and probably a lot more viewers if I’m honest.”
These plans definitely seem to have worked in his favour, because Essex has since gone on to star in shows such as The Jump, Celebs Go Dating, Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, as well as the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity. He has also presented two of his own shows, Educating Joey Essex, and Joey Essex: Grief and Me.
Essex is currently taking part in Dancing On Ice, where he has teamed up with pro skater Vanessa Bauer. However, he has met with mishap before the show has even started, in a skating accident where he fell and hurt his finger when his hand went under the blade.