Neighbours' Craig McLachlan finds it hard to trust women after sexual assault allegations

The soap star revealed on the Australian version of Celebrity SAS he now suffers from "extreme social anxiety", particularly around women.

Craig McLachlan arrives at the 2015 Sydney Theatre Awards at Paddington RSL on January 19, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Craig McLachlan said he now suffers from extreme social anxiety, particularly around women. (Getty Images)

Former Neighbours star Craig McLachlan has admitted he struggles to trust women after he was accused of sexual assault.

The actor - best known for playing Henry Ramsay in Neighbours - has taken part in the Australian version of survival reality series Celebrity SAS where he revealed he now suffers from "extreme social anxiety", particularly around women.

McLachlan, 58, confessed in the interrogation room: "When I started on Neighbours, I was in people's lounge rooms night after night, day after day.

Read more: Craig McLachlan thanks fans for support after allegations

"But there was something that happened about five years ago that was shocking for the public and shocking for me. So I'm here to exorcise some pretty extreme pain with some pretty extreme pain."

Australian actor Craig McLachlan arrives to give video evidence from his barrister's office in in Sydney, Friday, November 6, 2020. McLachlan is charged with seven counts of indecent assault, one of attempted indecent assault and another of assault involving four complainants in Melbourne between April and July in 2014. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY **
Craig McLachlan was cleared of sexual assault in 2020. (Alamy)

He went on: "I find it very difficult to trust situations where there are a lot of people, especially women.

"I'm more anxious about being in a new group of people than I am about climbing up the side of a mountain. I know that sounds bizarre, but for me, I'm afraid it's true."

And the actor and singer - who also starred in Home And Away and had a pop career in the 80s - admitted many of his friends had cut him off after the allegations were made about him.

He went on to admit that many people he once called friends had disappeared from his life.

McLachlan said: "People who only months before looked me in the eye and said you create the most wonderful work environments imaginable... abandonment, total abandonment,' he told Middleton.

"A tiny handful of courageous people I have friendships with over 30 years were always there, but the vast majority - gone."

Craig McLachlan plays the role of Frank N Furter during a media call for The Rocky Horror Show at The Star on April 15, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Craig McLachlan starred as Frank N Furter in a production of The Rocky Horror Show in Sydney in 2014. (Getty Images)

McLachlan - who lives with long-term partner, opera conductor Vanessa Scammell - was cleared of seven charges of indecent assault and six of common assault in December 2020.

He was later handed a $500,000AUD [£261,000] payout following his aquittal.

The musical theatre actor was accused in 2018 by four women of sexual assault while working on The Rocky Horror Picture Show back in 2014.

McLachlan was found not guilty following a trial in 2020. While delivering her verdict Magistrate Belinda Wallington praised the accusers for being “brave and honest witnesses” but decreed their testimony was not enough to prove intent on the part of McLachlan.

Craig McLachlan poses with the award for Best Actor in a Musical at the Capitol Theatre on August 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Craig McLachlan was 'devastated' not to be a part of the Neighbours finale. (Getty Images)

The actresses had claimed he rubbed his genitals against them, engaged in impromptu on-stage kissing, and would sexually touch them in front of an audience when no one else could visibly see him.

McLachlan played Kylie Minogue's character's brother in Neighbours from 1987 to 1989 and had a No. 2 hit in the UK charts with 'Mona' in 1990. He competed in ITV's Dancing On Ice in 2011.

Read more: Craig McLachlan blames 'cancel culture' for him missing out on 'Neighbours' finale

The soap star spoke of his devastation when he was not invited to join the Neighbours finale in 2022, when it wrapped after 37 years.

The show has now been rebooted on Amazon Freevee.

Watch: Craig McLachlan reprised his Neighbours role in his own video