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Jeremy Kyle has spoken out for the first time since his ITV daytime show was axed following the death of a participant, admitting he felt “scapegoated”.
The Jeremy Kyle Show ended in 2019 after a 14-year run following the suspected suicide of show guest Steve Dymond after he failed a lie detector test on the now-defunct show.
In a new interview with The Sun, Jeremy says he couldn’t “bring himself to leave the house” or “even open the curtains” after the show was axed.
“I used to think ‘get a grip’ when some celebrities talked about those sort of problems,” 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.
“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 added that a series of setbacks had contributed to his mental health deteriorating.
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.
“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.”
At the preliminary hearing held in November last year into Mr Dymond’s death, coroner Jason Pegg said he had made Jeremy an “interested person” for the inquest, stating the presenter is someone “who may have caused or contributed to the death of Stephen Dymond”.
The inquest remains ongoing and the lengthy process still prevents Jeremy from speaking in detail about it.
“When the time is right and it is appropriate to do so, I will have my say,” Jeremy said.
He added: “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.”
The Jeremy Kyle Show had been a main-stay of the ITV daytime schedule, having aired each weekday since 2005.
It has been a huge ratings success for the channel, attracting around a million viewers per episode, making it the channel’s highest-rated daytime show.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.