Advertisement

The Vamps’ James McVey says I’m A Celeb worsened his body image

James McVey of The Vamps has told MPs that starring in I'm A Celeb... worsened his body image struggles (WireImage)
James McVey of The Vamps has told MPs that starring in I'm A Celeb... worsened his body image struggles (WireImage)

The Vamps’ James McVey said I'm A Celebrity worsened his body image issues.

The 27-year-old singer, who appeared on the ITV reality show in 2018, made the candid admission while giving evidence to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee on the impact of body image on physical and mental health.

The singer told MPs: “I went into that show feeling extremely confident, I came out of that show five or six kilograms lighter, and when my wife saw me she was shocked, almost scared of how ill I looked.

Read more: The Vamps Connor Ball sets the record for stitches on Dancing On Ice

“However, I thought immediately 'I kind of look good again'. I had a six pack in a way I hadn’t had for 10 years since the beginning of my issues with food and mental health.

“I think, without realising, I still had unanswered demons in my head about my body."

McVey, who starred alongside Harry Redknapp and Emily Atack on the ITV show, added: “That show was brilliant for an array of reasons but it made me focus on myself more than ever, physically.”

The Vamps' lead guitarist James Brittain-McVey appearing before the Health and Social Care Committee at the Houses of Parliament, London (PA)
The Vamps' lead guitarist James Brittain-McVey appearing before the Health and Social Care Committee at the Houses of Parliament, London (PA)

The musician, whose bandmate Connor Ball is currently competing on Dancing On Ice, also explained that he’d started worrying about his looks while at school after seeing images of unrealistic body types advertised by 'big American surf style companies'.

He said: “I had one of their shopping bags in my bedroom of a guy ripped on a beach in Malibu and I think unconsciously every morning I would think that is what I need to look like.

“I think social media encouraged me to fall further down that rabbit hole. The first thoughts I would have when I woke up in the morning was ‘should I be eating that, am I going to be able to get to the gym?”

The star also admitted to having undergone liposuction to remove surplus breast tissue, a condition called gynaecomastia, when he was younger.

“People presume it was me striving for vanity — but it was pressure to conform to stereotypes and gender constructs,” he added.

James McVey (far left) with The Vamps bandmates, Connor Ball, Tristan Evans and Bradley Simpson at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards in Hollywood, shortly before starring in I'm A Celeb... (WireImage)
James McVey (far left) with The Vamps bandmates, Connor Ball, Tristan Evans and Bradley Simpson at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards in Hollywood, shortly before starring in I'm A Celeb... (WireImage)

“You’re never satisfied. You think you get to a certain point and you will complete it but there is always another thing you can do or another supplement you can take and at the age of 19 the next step for me was to get liposuction.”

He declared that he would “love to see a world where companies want to market people that represent the majority, not the small percentage of unachievable body image”.

McVey has previously spoken about his “negative relationship” with food and revealed that he started adjusting his diet when he was just 12 years old after becoming “pretty overweight”.

The musician joined The Vamps in 2012 and the band scored their first big hit in 2013 with Can We Dance, which reached number two in the UK charts.

Watch: Ant and Dec hope that I’m A Celebrity will return to its “spiritual home”