Nadia Essex reveals her baby’s name – a tribute to Love Island’s Mike Thalassitis

Former Celebs Go Dating star Nadia Essex addresses her fears over bringing up a baby during lockdown, and reveals how therapy’s helped her deal with roller coaster emotions

Nadia Essex

by Neeru Sharma |
Updated on

It’s been just four weeks since Nadia Essex gave birth to her first child, and she admits she’s already struggling to remember life before her son entered the world. The 38-year-old TV star is now a proud mum to Ezekiel and is completely consumed with her bundle of joy. She tells us, “I’ve never loved anyone so much. It’s only been a short amount of time, but I feel as though he’s been in my life a lot longer. We’re a team and I can’t imagine life without him now.”

But while she’s overjoyed, the first few weeks of motherhood have been particularly testing for the former Celebs Go Dating presenter. Unable to introduce her newborn to family and friends amid social distancing measures, the star admits this precious time has been different to how she’d imagined. Nadia – who is raising her baby single-handedly and is keen to keep her relations with her baby’s father out of the limelight – explains, “It’s been the craziest time to welcome a baby. While it’s nice to be in our own little bubble, you can’t help but be affected by what’s happening. My mum was only allowed on the ward for ten minutes following his birth, and wasn’t even able to have a cuddle with her grandson. In hospital, I remember the hand sanitiser from my bedside had been stolen – it all felt so surreal. I’ve had little contact with people, which has been tough, but I understand it’s for the best.”

Nadia Essex
Nadia Essex ©Nadia Essex

“We’ve had our routine antenatal appointments and vaccinations cancelled, and I can’t register his birth,” she adds. “It’s taken a bit of adjusting to get used to the changes. I’m trying to avoid leaving the house because my sense of risk feels so heightened. Luckily, friends and neighbours are offering to help with shopping.”

Like any first-time mum, Nadia has experienced a wave of different emotions, but says she’s trying to remain upbeat and adjust to a “new type of normal” amid the pandemic.

She reveals, “It’s hard enough dealing with your emotions, as well as constant nappy changes and aching boobs – but now I’m questioning myself a lot more in light of what’s happening around us. I’m a single mum and I don’t have someone at home who could take care of my baby if I was unwell. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and it does scare me, but I’m trying to be level-headed. I FaceTime friends and family every day, and I’m grateful Ezekiel is blissfully unaware.”

In March last year, Nadia was rocked by the passing of her friend, Love Island star Mike Thalassitis, who sadly took his own life. The pair met on the E4 dating show in 2018, and following his death, Nadia admitted she sought professional help after experiencing suicidal thoughts. Poignantly, she reveals she’s chosen “Michael” as her son’s middle name, in a bid to keep his memory alive.

“Ezekiel means ‘strength’ in Hebrew, and having Michael as his middle name seems fitting,” she explains. “Mike and I were extremely close, and not a day passes where he doesn’t appear in my thoughts. He made a choice that I could have easily made for myself. Including his name is a reminder for me to be grateful for life, and to try to get through each day.”

CHECK OUT Celebs Go Dating's most outrageous moments


Celebs Go Dating most outrageous moments - SLIDER use this one

The fall of Stephen Bear1 of 36

The fall of Stephen Bear

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.

Stephen Bear2 of 36

Stephen Bear asks for threesome

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 outrageous3 of 36

Stephen Bear

Now we think about it, everything Stephen Bear did was outrageous. Poor blue lips...

Joey Essex's burp date4 of 36

Joey Essex's burpy date

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.

Jonathan Cheban dates a Kim Kardashian lookalike5 of 36

Jonathan Cheban dates Kimmy K lookalike

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 stands up poor old Laurence :(6 of 36

Gemma Collins stands up poor old Laurence :(

Gemma Collins successfully managed to anger the entire nation after failing to turn up to the Eurostar for her Parisian date with Laurence.

Joey Essex dates a cougar...7 of 36

Joey Essex dates a cougar...

She wanted to dress him as a pony, for some reason.

... and Calum Best dates a cougar8 of 36

... and Calum Best dates a cougar

He looks like he had a wonderful time.

Frankie Cocozza and Charlotte Dawson break the rules and date each other9 of 36

Frankie Cocozza and Charlotte Dawson break the rules and date each other

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.

CGD outrageous moments10 of 36

Their double date ends in awks

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.

CGD outrageous moments11 of 36


Yes, this is a real thing that actually happened and the snubbed dates, Kieran Patel and Katie Champ are still together.

Charlotte Dawson bum massage12 of 36

Charlotte Dawson bum massage

Charlotte Dawson made an impression (of sorts) on one of her first dates by giving a bum massage in a busy pub. Not sure where that lotion came from.

Calum Best stands his date up13 of 36

Calum Best stands his date up

Calum got in hot water with the dating agents after failing to show up to one of his dates.

Gemma Collins storms out of date after he called her 'a diva'14 of 36

Gemma Collins storms out of date after he called her 'a diva'

She got up an left like a diva after he called her, er, 'a diva'. Well, she did show up about an hour late...

Charlotte Crosby spits milk during her date15 of 36

Charlotte Crosby spits milk during her date

Playing hot sauce roulette on a first date was never going to end well...

Jorgie Porter's date wants to see her on the loo16 of 36

Jorgie Porter's date wants to see her on the loo

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's date gets x-rated17 of 36

Courtney Stodden's date gets x-rated

Courtney Stodden shocked viewers after getting her date to rub sun cream on her chest.

Charlotte Crosby dates a massive sexist18 of 36

Charlotte Crosby dates a massive sexist

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.

Joey Essex and Stephanie Pratt find love with each other19 of 36

Joey Essex and Stephanie Pratt find love with each other

They broke the rules, but was it worth it? Erm. Probably not, no. Because it lasted about two minutes.

Ferne McCann refuses to split the bill20 of 36

Ferne McCann refuses to split the bill

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.

Tom Read WIlson admits he doesn't know who Kim Kardashian is21 of 36

Tom Read Wilson admits he doesn't know who Kim Kardashian is

But... how?

CGD outrageous moments22 of 36

Megan McKenna and Pete Wicks reunion

Megan and Pete had a notoriously rocky relationship on TOWIE, so putting them on the same series was a stroke of TV GENIUS.

CGD outrageous moments23 of 36

Kerry Katona's rude date

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.

CGD outrageous moments24 of 36

Jack Fincham and the Waitress

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.

CGD outrageous moments25 of 36

Jack Fincham's first date

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.

CGD outrageous moments26 of 36

Jack Fincham's second date

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.

CGD outrageous moments27 of 36

Lee Ryan gets pied

Ha! Ha, ha ha.

CGD outrageous moments28 of 36

Lady C's sexual innuendos

Just like narrator Rob Beckett said, the woman is an absolute SAUCE POT - just check out her traffic light analogy. Blimey.

CGD outrageous moments29 of 36

Malique Thompson-Dwyer's 'predatory' flirting

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.

CGD outrageous moments30 of 36

Tom's birth affirmations

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.

CGD outrageous moments31 of 36

Amy Childs showed her deep and intellectual side...

When she asked her date, "If you were a sandwich, what would you be?"

CGD outrageous moments32 of 36

Malique ACTUALLY fell in love!

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.

CGD outrageous moments33 of 36

Liv Bentley walked out on her date

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).

CGD outrageous moments34 of 36

But he was totally convinced she was into him

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.

CGD outrageous moments35 of 36

Amy Childs' toilet 'romp' with Jamie

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.

CGD outrageous moments36 of 36
CREDIT: Channel 4

Paul Carrick Brunson QUITS

Just days after Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion came to end, love guru Paul Carrick Brunson seemingly revealed he's quit the show after a behind the scenes bust-up with one of the show's 'disrespectful' celebs. We need to know more ASAP.

WATCH Charlotte Crosby reveals her last text messages following Joshua Ritchie split

Nadia has been praised for speaking candidly about her mental health struggles. She hit the headlines in 2018 when she stepped down from her presenting role on Celebs Go Dating amid a highly publicised court case. In the aftermath, she admits she went through a “downward spiral of depression” and nearly reached breaking point. But she insists having Ezekiel has given her a renewed sense of purpose, and his birth is all the more special because a health condition had left her fearing she might never conceive.

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Closer magazine
Read more in this week's Closer magazine, out now ©Closer magazine

“When I got pregnant, I knew I had to get everything in order, including my mind. It helped to lift my depression. For my son’s sake, I had to confront everything that was going on inside, because he deserves me at my best. He’s given me strength and focus to get through each day. Without him, I’d feel a lot lonelier. Being a mum gives me something to wake up for and, at the end of each day, I feel like I’ve achieved something.”

Regular counselling has helped her deal with her depression too, and Nadia says she’ll continue with regular check-ups. She says, “The therapy I had during pregnancy helped me enormously. I was a mess during my first session, but by the last one my counsellor said I was a different person. Having someone to talk to about my worries, without fear of repercussion, was the one thing that kept me on the straight and narrow. Therapy forced me to deal with issues I was hiding from – and I’m stronger for it. It’s been life-changing for me.”

Read more in this week's Closer magazine, which you can buy right now from here.

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