As she exclusively announces her pregnancy with Closer, former Celebs Go Dating star Nadia Essex opens up about her difficult journey to motherhood
Her pregnancy may have come as a “massive shock”, but as Nadia Essex lovingly cradles her blossoming baby bump on our photo shoot, she excitedly tells us she “can’t wait” to meet her first child.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the former Celebs Go Dating presenter – who is 14 weeks pregnant. Nadia, 37, is no longer in a relationship with her baby’s father – whose identity she wishes to keep private – and she didn’t find out about the pregnancy for nine weeks.
But she’s determined to embrace her future as a single mum after fearing she may never be able to conceive a child.
Check out Celebs Go Dating's most outrageous moments (spoiler: contains a lot of Stephen Bear).
Closer celebs go dating most outrageous moments
Viewers were rightly outraged when one time apprentice reject Mark-dash-Ryan Parsons walked out on his second date with Barbadian Callum (who was, let's face it, waaaaay out of his league) claiming he'd had a spa day booked that he'd forgotten about. The real cincher was the wax sealed, handwritten note he'd left on his departure explaining he didn't want to see him again. Too-posh-to-function Mark Ryan caused dating coaches Anna and Paul a shed load of jip with his penchant for talking down to and insulting his dates.
It's 2022, so you'd think that media-trained telly types would know not to go onto national TV and refer to half the population as "birds" and "pigs". Not so for forgettable Geordie Shore star Marty, who within seconds of sitting down in the agency's newly revamped offices had branded women both and made the delusional claim that he'd "never had any complaints".
After a few episodes of Stephen Bear acting as Stephen Bear-ish as it's possible to act, Nadia and Eden decided they'd had enough and chucked him out the agency. Good riddance.
Speaking of Stephen Bear, remember when he asked those twins for a threesome? Good lord.
Now we think about it, everything Stephen Bear did was outrageous. Poor blue lips...
Some poor old girl who managed to score a date with Joey Essex ended up burping on his face throughout the entire thing. What a nightmare.
This just couldn't have been more classic, could it? Things (obviously) didn't work out, and Kim Kardashian lookalike Chanelle Sadie Paul ended up having an alleged sordid affair with dating agent Eden Blackman. But that's a whole other story...
Gemma Collins successfully managed to anger the entire nation after failing to turn up to the Eurostar for her Parisian date with Laurence.
She wanted to dress him as a pony, for some reason.
He looks like he had a wonderful time.
They were the first celebrity couple to hook up with each other on the show. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. And Frankie is now happily married to someone else.
Both Frankie and Charlotte's dates ended up walking out of the double date set up by the agents after they couldn't stop gushing about the other.
Yes, this is a real thing that actually happened and the snubbed dates, Kieran Patel and Katie Champ are still together.
Charlotte Dawson made an impression (of sorts) on one oh her first dates by giving a bum massage in a busy pub. Not sure where that lotion came from.
Calum got in hot water with the dating agents after failing to show up to one of his dates.
She got up an left like a diva after he called her, er, 'a diva'. Well, she did show up about an hour late...
Playing hot sauce roulette on a first date was never going to end well...
After telling her that he'd Googled her before the date, Jorgie's date casually mentioned he'd like to watch her on the toilet. Wow.
Courtney Stodden shocked viewers after getting her date to rub sun cream on her chest.
When Charlotte told Jeavon (who also dated Love Island's Malin Andersson) that she'd slept with 20 men, he said: "that is bad, for a lad it's not that bad." Despite the fact he claimed to have slept with 50.
They broke the rules, but was it worth it? Erm. Probably not, no. Because it lasted about two minutes.
After ordering a frankly humungous amount of food, Ferne didn't offer to help pay the bill at the end of the date. She later burst into tears in the dating agency after the guy gave her a bad review for not doing so.
Megan and Pete had a notoriously rocky relationship on TOWIE, so putting them on the same series was a stroke of TV GENIUS.
When Kerry Katona's date implied her children had been a "mistake", she handled it like a pro – but the nation watched from between their fingers.
Jack Fincham was set up with a lovely girl called Carol by the agents, but admitted by the end he wasn't feeling it. Instead he got the barmaid's number, and ended up taking her to the final in Tenerife.
Jack Fincham abruptly ended the date he wasn't feeling by telling his date he was "tired" and had "had enough", before demanding she finish her glass of wine en route to the door.
He then got set up with an Italian called Chiara, but quickly took offense when she made a joke about one of the bartenders, calling them over and insisting she'd rather be on a date with them, instead.
Ha! Ha, ha ha.
Just like narrator Rob Beckett said, the woman is an absolute SAUCE POT - just check out her traffic light analogy. Blimey.
After getting slammed by viewers for his 'predatory' flirting at the first mixer, Malique offended one of his dates when he was forced to date two women at the same time, and made his preference for Jakeeme clear - with Danica storming off as a result. awks.
Anna Williamson is heavily pregnant in series eight and so lovable receptionist Tom devises some birth affirmations in case her waters break at work - "which could happen", points out Anna. Nuggets from Tom include "I am lactating generously" and "my vagina has retained its' elasticity".
When she asked her date, "If you were a sandwich, what would you be?"
And then immediately fell out of it the following morning, after he "had sex all night" with his date, Jakeeme. He was - quite rightfully - told off by Anna and Paul.
He was "late, stand-offish and entirely humourless" (fair), but his incessant talk of "pumping" was the final straw for Liv, who left halfway through (also fair).
Despite Liv doing a runner in the middle of their drinks, self-confident Otto was still convinced Liv fancied him and accused her of making "f-ck me eyes" across the table. CRINGE.
Does this take the biscuit for CGD's most outrageous moment? During a double date with Olivia Bentley, Amy STRADDLED her date in the restaurant before scuttling off to the toilets, returning later looking dishevelled. They claimed to have only kissed... but we weren't born yesterday, hun.
Every series there's a 'forbidden romance' between the slebs but none was more outrageous than the betrothal of Geordie Shore star Chloe Ferry and old-enough-to-be-her-granddad (and brother of national treasure Gary) Wayne Lineker. The internet was agog when they announced their engagement, but it turned out to all be a subtle nod to sophisticated humour with Wayne admitting they "just wanted to see what people would say". Oh, you guys.
Although this moment never made it to our screens, Chloe Brockett recently revealed she'd secretly fallen out with co-star Marty McKenna and stormed off set following a row. She explained, "Soooo... something that no one knows about us is on the last day of filming me and @Marty_GShore had an argument. He kept winding me up all day... kept talking over me and I just lost my sh-t. I stormed off and called him a c--t."The pair soon made up though as Chloe continued, "We was friends five minutes later, but yeah, that would have been funny to watch. He annoys me like a brother lol."
“I’ve gone from a hellish year to being blessed with a baby,” Nadia tells Closer. “The odds weren’t in my favour, as for so long I thought I couldn’t have children – so this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s a miracle!
"I had tried for a baby ten years ago with a previous partner, with no success. I’d recently stopped taking the contraceptive pill, but I was using protection. My doctor told me there was less than one per cent chance of conception. Everyone’s shocked, but I wouldn’t change a thing!”
Despite feeling overjoyed, Nadia is nervous about how people will react to her pregnancy as she will be facing parenthood alone.
She explains, “I still think there’s a real stigma against single mums and internet trolls may use that label against me. My baby’s dad lives in America and he wants to be involved, so we’ll find a way to co-parent and communicate. I have a great support system and a very honest relationship with my family.”
Nadia, who is eagerly waiting to find out her baby’s gender, wants to get advice on being a single parent from her good friend Ferne McCann, who is mum to 22-month-old daughter Sunday.
“I adore her,” she says. “Ferne is a really good example of someone who has never let her status as a single mum hold her back. She owns it and people love her for it.”
Last year, Nadia hit the headlines after she was reportedly axed from the show for making “false allegations” against her Celebs Go Dating co-star Eden Blackman. The pair were involved in a highly publicised court case and in the aftermath of the scandal, Nadia reached breaking point.
She says, “I’ve taken full responsibility for my failings. Most people make a mistake and it’s not splashed across the front pages. I received messages from strangers saying they wished I was dead. It was humiliating and it nearly sent me over the edge. But it’s made me a better person and I’m unbelievably grateful to still be here.”
In the months following her dismissal, Nadia began seeing a therapist after experiencing suicidal thoughts. She was also rocked by the passing of her friend, Love Island star Mike Thalassitis, who sadly took his life in March this year.
She candidly explains, “My mental health is fragile. I came so close to being in the same position as Mike. I needed to take myself out of the celebrity world and be with true friends and family, walk my dog and read self-help books. Therapy is a restorative process. I look back now and I don’t recognise the person I was. I feel sorry for her.”
Nadia recently stopped taking anti-depressants on the advice of her doctor, but she is concerned she may suffer from postnatal depression. She says, “It’s a possibility, but I know there’s help out there. I weaned myself off my medication within two weeks and although I’ve been emotional, I blame everything on the pregnancy hormones. As long as I speak out, I know I can cope.”
After losing a stone last year and struggling with yo-yo dieting for most of her life, Nadia is also embracing her changing figure. The 4ft 11 star – who currently weighs 9st 9lbs – finally feels body confident.
“I’ve always been curvy, so no-one’s going to expect me to bounce back after the birth,” she says. “My boobs have gone up three cup sizes from a DD and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. But I’m desperate to show off my bump and I feel empowered by my pregnancy body.”
Watch: Love Island's Maura Higgins on meeting up with Greg O'Shea
Read more celeb news
She’s also not going to let her growing bump stop her looking for love and is even open to dating right now, saying, “I don’t want to put my life on hold just because I’m pregnant – it won’t stop me dating! Although it takes a special kind of man to be open-minded enough to date a pregnant woman. I would love to get married, though.”
After spending the past year out of the spotlight, Nadia took the time to finally find peace within herself. “Two years ago, I was in no position to bring a child into this world,” she explains. “I hit rock bottom, but I’ve built myself back up. I love myself more than I ever thought possible and I hope my baby will be the making of me.”
Read more exclusive celeb stories in this week's Closer magazine - out now.