Fatima Whitbread is just one of the celebrities currently doing a second stint on I’m a Celeb’s new version of the show in South Africa.
The former Olympian – famous for the 2011 cockroach drama – has come back for round two in the quest to become the first ever I’m a Celebrity legend, alongside other OG campmates like Phil Tuffnell, Janice Dickinson and Georgia Toffolo.
In a recent episode, Fatima opened up to Carol Vorderman and Helen Flanagan and got emotional about her childhood, revealing that being brought up in different children’s homes was difficult to deal with as a kid.
But as Fatima bravely continues to open up about her past and advocate for children in care, let’s take a look back at the 62 year old’s life…
Fatima was abandoned by her mother at three months old
When Fatima was just three months old, her biological mother abandoned her in a flat. According to reports, a neighbour heard the cries of a baby but hadn’t seen any adults leaving or entering the building for a few days.
After calling the police, a baby Fatima was rescued before spending the next four months in hospital being treated for malnutrition.
Following her discharge, she was then placed into care.
Fatima spent 14 years in children’s homes before finally being adopted
The youngster was first placed in a home in Hertfordshire with around 25 children who were “no older than five,” Fatima recalled to Action for Children.
Looking back, she revealed that some of the places she lived never felt like a home, and “more like an institution.”
When she was five, Fatima was suddenly moved to a different care home that housed just 14 children. The athlete explained that this is where she met the “star” in her life, a reference she made on the recent I’m a Celeb episode.
She met her biological mum at age five with no warning
The day Fatima was moved from the larger care home to the smaller one, she also met her biological mum and half brother and sister for the first time.
The 62 year old revealed that she found it “quite disturbing” because she “didn’t know” she had “a mum.”
“Nobody ever took the time to explain it to me. And having never received any birthday cards or visits, the only logical way I could understand it was that I had no real family or home,” she added.
However, the meeting would not prove to be a positive one, as Fatima recalled that she didn’t even recognise her mum – she thought the social worker was actually her parent.
According to the I’m a Celeb star, she didn’t resonate with her family and felt very “other” to them, adding that it was like they were a family and she was on the outside looking in.
Fatima opened up about her past on I’m a Celeb
During the emotional scenes of the episode, Fatima spoke to Carol and Helen about the two people in her life: “Corrie and Aunty Ray.”
“Auntie Ray was an East End girl,” she said.
“I’d be really sad when she went off duty. One day I decided to pick all the daffodils and knock on her door and ask her, ‘Will you be my mum?’”
Fatima then revealed that her Auntie Ray had told her that she needed to be a mum to all of the kids, and that she couldn’t always be there for just one person.
Viewers then saw the Olympian shed a tear, to which her campmates responded by consoling her.
“She taught me a lot about looking after the other kids and how you give and you receive. You’ve got to have a star in every child’s life,” she added.
Later on, during a confessional in the bush telegraph Fatima also said: “There has been a lot of history I had forgotten about in my life, and when I spoke about it, it brought it all back to the surface again and brought a tear to my eye.”
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