TOWIE alum Mario Falcone has credited his big sister Giovanna Fletcher for saving his life "without a doubt" following a suicide attempt.
The ITVBe personality, 33, spoke candidly about the current I'm A Celebrity jungle queen stepping in when he tried to take his own life by overdosing on pills and champagne in 2012.
It came following Mario's high-profile break-up with then TOWIE co-star, Lucy Mecklenburgh.
The dad of one has opened up on author and podcast host Giovanna in the new edition of Hello! Magazine, and said: "The 'Mama Gi' we saw on TV… she has always been that.
"She is super organised in a crisis and knew what to do and got me to counselling.
"As a man you have your guard up and I felt I had to put on this kind of bravado, but she told me 'you need to open up.'.
"That saved my life without a doubt."
Previously speaking to the Sunday People, Mario said of the mum-of-three, 36, who he always backed to win I'm A Celeb: "I owe her everything."
He continued: "I was having a really difficult time eight years ago going through a very public break-up.
"I was getting a lot of hate on social media and felt really backed into a corner – like this was the only way out."
Mario is the youngest of three Falcone siblings – with two older sisters Giorgina and Giovanna.
His lothario ways, often seen on the reality series, have since been tamed by fiance Becky Miesner.
Becky, who works as a beautician, started dating the hunk in August 2016, and after a whirlwind romance he popped the question in Santorini, Greece.
On November 10, 2018, they welcomed a son named Parker Jax.
Mario, who is an ambassador for suicide prevention charity Papyrus, addressed the "shocking" notion his tot could one day suffer the same "darkness" he did.
He added to Hello!: "The thought of young children even having those thoughts is shocking.
"I will always want Parker to be aware he can talk to us, to communicate how he is feeling.
"You teach your children how to walk, how to talk, I think you have to teach them how to open up, so it becomes second nature.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
"I know that feeling of darkness. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have transitioned from the place I was in to where I am now.
"I have an amazing fiancée, a beautiful son, and a sense of accomplishment in my journey from there to where I am today."
Model Mario left the ITVBe show after series 15 when bosses disapproved of him promoting slimming pills on Instagram, which broke ITV policy.
He made a brief comeback in the show in 2017 when he appeared alongside Frankie Essex in the series finale.
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