The Traitors star Wilf Webster almost quit show after emotional exhaustion (exclusive)

The Traitors series 2 returns on January 2

Wilf from The Traitors with TV host Claudia Winkleman. (Instagram)
Wilfred 'Wilf' Webster from The Traitors with TV host Claudia Winkleman. (Instagram)

Ahead of the second series, The Traitors star Wilfred "Wilf" Webster has revealed he considered quitting the reality series when lying all the time impacted his emotions, saying: "I was a mess from episode two, I cried a lot."

However, Webster also revealed that he was surrounded by great support from the show – especially from TV host Claudia Winkleman.

Wilf told Yahoo: "It was really hard. There were times I did want to give up. There were times where in the diary room I would just sit there for about 10 minutes just to get breathing space. It's so intense all the time, you're lying all the time."

The 'Traitors' must live among the ‘Faithfuls’ undetected while ‘murdering’ someone every night by voting them out of the reality series. Once a day, the Faithfuls get the opportunity to try and vote out a Traitor at the roundtables.

With the second series set to air in the UK, Wilf has revealed some of the secrets behind the scenes of the reality show. He captured the audience’s attention as the last Traitor standing but now the star has outlined how lying all the time left him unable to sleep while starring on the show.

The Traitors offers a £120,000 prize. (BBC)
The Traitors star Wilf almost quit the first series of the show. (BBC)

"I was emotionally exhausted," he said. "I was only getting two-three hours of sleep because I was so stressed. You can't fall asleep in the castle. There was one guy who fell sleep and Maddy was like: 'Look he's been up all night murdering.'"

The TV star kept everyone on their toes by secretly voting out his friends but he confessed his game plan left him genuinely upset and in a lot of tears. "I didn't realise I was that emotional," he admitted. "So that's the thing I learned about myself is actually, I thought I could deal with the guilt better than I thought. I thought, 'They're gonna be holiday friends. I'm gonna be cool. I'll be ruthless.'

Wilfred Webster made a huge impression on The Traitors. (Getty)
Wilfred Webster made a huge impression on The Traitors. (Getty)

"Everyone comes up to me, saying, 'you're such a good actor' but really I was crying. There was no acting involved in the crying. I was literally a mess from episode two. I cried a lot and I didn't realise it would take such a toll on my sort of emotional well-being."

Wearing his heart on his sleeve, the TV personality further explained why playing The Traitors was so challenging. He added: "I really convinced myself that I was a faithful, like method acting. I convinced myself so much.

"The 'murdering' was hard because my strategy was to 'murder' my friends. And then you actually feel upset, right? I didn't have to fake cry because I genuinely felt guilty. That was hard getting rid of my friends but that was my strategy."

Claudia Winkleman's secret support

Claudia Winkleman on The Traitors
Claudia Winkleman was a beacon of light and support. (BBC)

However, there was plenty of support on hand for the budding reality star which helped him and he was happily able to see the game through to the end. In on his secret, Traitors host Winkleman was able to offer her support to him during the show too - especially after Wilf got rid of his fellow traitor Amanda Lovett due to "pure paranoia".

"Luckily the well-being team and their psychs and stuff are really quite good," he said. "They have got your back. And even Claudia, there's a time where you can see it on the episode where I got rid of Amanda. I just break down to Claudia. She was really supportive as well because it's a hard show. I thought it would be so much easier."

Strictly Come Dancing host Winkleman was one of the biggest secret keepers of all as she kept the identities of the traitors hidden from the faithfuls. In total awe of Winkleman, he added: "Claudia definitely held it down. I have no idea how she did but the thing is it was like she was on both our sides."

New rules for The Traitors?

The Traitors UK's finalists with Claudia Winkleman. (BBC)
The Traitors UK's finalists with Claudia Winkleman. (BBC)

Despite playing a fantastic game, Wilf was exposed when newly-appointed traitor Kieran heavily hinted that he was the remaining one in the game. At this point, Kieran had just been voted out. This moment in the reality series totally changed the course of the game as Wilf had been on track to win the final and the prize fund. Instead of the money though, he went home with some lifelong friends.

"I think you'll never see a parting gift again," he said. "I do think that there might be things in place to stop people from doing that now but I just had to be the victim of that."

Looking ahead to the new series, The Traitors star said there will be some surprises in store. "What Studio Lambert are really good at is making people not expect what's to come. So for me I don't think it's gonna be exactly the same. There will be a lot of differences," he said.

"That's the exciting part of it, knowing that there's gonna be different missions because I don't think they'll do all the same things. It's gonna catch people off guard and I feel like Studio Lambert aren't fair enough to allow people to be able to plan in a way that they could win."

In the long run though, Wilf remains confident that him losing was the best thing that could have happened to him. He added: "The guys were so set that it wasn't me. But for me, it was a saving grace. I think if I won the show, it would have been harder to have any sort of career after...

"For me it was better for me not to win. I think I've done quite well after and I've got some stuff in the future, which is pretty good. So, if I won that it would have been harder for me to turn people's perception of me around."

Plus being found out by the faithfuls at that point was actually a huge relief for him. "It was the biggest relief I've ever had," he said. "I was just like, 'Oh my god that was a fun game.' It's like playing monopoly for like however many days. Thank god that's over, I'm so tired."

He added: "No regrets at all, everyone would say it's so cheesy I say that but I feel it was perfect. I think the game I played was exactly how I wanted to play it. I didn't want to come across like a horrible person because I'm not. I think losing and then not actually caring, people saw I was just in this game."

Return to TV

Wilf praised the experience for changing his world forever. He said: "The whole thing, for me, it's changed my life. I don't have a normal life anymore and it changed my life. Being there felt so special and that's why I didn't care about winning. It was so weird in the end when I lost, I just felt this sense of relief and I felt like we just created a beautiful TV show like this. When I watch it back it's elegant, it's mysterious."

In May, The Traitors won at the BAFTAs: the Reality And Constructed Factual award and TV host Winkleman won Entertainment Performance for hosting the show. Wilf admitted at first he struggled with imposter syndrome before recognising his own part in the show's success.

He added: "And for me that was rewarding just being part of like this worldwide phenomenon. It's weird because I had imposter syndrome at the beginning and I went to the BAFTAs and all people kept coming up to me. And then the more I thought about it, that I'm like, 'Actually, I was a big part of it.'"

The reality star teased his big comeback to the TV too as he revealed he has upcoming projects in the pipeline for 2024. He explained: "My dream is to present a game show. I know it's a long road but I'm doing the right things.

"I've got the right management behind me and people who are part of the Studio Lambert and BBC, they're really supportive, which is really good. It's a competitive industry. Viewers will see me on telly more and more."

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