Joey Essex has revealed he is filming a documentary exploring the impacts of losing his mother to suicide when he was just 10 years old.
The 30-year-old reality star – who found fame on The Only Way Is Essex in 2011 – will open up on the psychological effects his mother’s death had on shaping his character in Joey Essex: Who Am I?.
Essex told The Sun: “This documentary is really close to my heart. Going on this journey to find the real me will be a personal challenge.
“But I hope it also highlights how important it is that other people who have experienced trauma know that they’re not alone.”
In the one-off show, which is set to air on BBC Three this autumn, Essex will open up on his struggles to process his mother’s death.
His mother, Tina, was 37 when she took her own life in 2001, after battling with depression.
A spokeswoman for the show said: “Behind the picture-perfect exterior is a man whose life and identity are in turmoil.
“Like so many kids affected by sudden trauma, he learnt to hide his true feelings behind a series of ‘masks’ – the joker, the charmer and the TV heart-throb.
“Joey’s found it increasingly difficult to drop the act and truly be himself. He realises that it’s now time to confront his trauma.”
Essex previously spoke about the trust issues he had as a result of his mother’s death when he took part in Channel 4 survival show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins earlier this year.
Essex told interrogating officers on the show: “I had to deal with a lot of s***. My mum committed suicide when I was 10 which was difficult. It hardened me up a little bit. I can't explain it. It's made me tougher inside.”
He added: “I only sort of started being able to talk about it openly, saying the word mum three or four years ago.
“I know my mum loved me. But it has given me trust issues. One day she was there, one day she was gone.”
The reality star has been an ambassador for Child Bereavement UK since 2014 but has rarely spoken about his experience directly.
Joey has an older sister, Frankie Essex, who also starred in TOWIE.
She told Kate Thornton’s White Wine Question Time podcast last year: “I do suffer with depression. So I’m very open that I lost my mum at a very young age to suicide.
“That was quite a big thing on the show for me: for the public, for other children and for other men and women to know that me and Chloe and Joey, as a family, had lost someone very close to us all but we were still alright.”
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