Reality TV

EXCLUSIVE: I’m A Celeb star Paulini breaks her silence on THAT driver’s licence scandal

''When I look back I just can’t believe how naive and stupid I was.''
Loading the player...

She made headlines for all the wrong reason in 2017 when she pleaded guilty in a Sydney court to bribing a public official to unlawfully obtain a driver’s licence.

After the case, in which she was given a six-month suspended sentence, Paulini Curuenavuli, best known for her stint on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003 and now starring in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, retreated from the spotlight.

Almost four years on, Paulini is ready to speak out about what she says is “the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

“Regrets! Where do I start?” Paulini tells Woman’s Day exclusively.

“When I look back I just can’t believe how naive and stupid I was… not a day goes by where I don’t shake my head and think, ‘What were you thinking, girl?’ I’m so sorry.”

Paulini, who was enjoying a career renaissance at the time thanks to her acclaimed role in the stage production of The Bodyguard, says she regrets the way she responded.

“I wanted to handle the situation very differently to the way it was,” says the 38-year-old star, who announced last week she parted ways with her old management after the incident.

Onwards and upwards: The singer is determined to turn over a new leaf in the jungle.

(Images: Getty, Channel 10)

“My team at the time just wanted me to say and do nothing – and I did as I was told, which I now regret. I wanted to come out publicly – own up, apologise and take whatever was coming to me in the hope of teaching others not to be as foolish as I was.”

Paulini knew the scandal would come up in the jungle, and was nervous about addressing people’s questions.

“[But] when it did come up, it was all very natural – it was more like a conversation with friends rather than some formal interview,” she says.

The Bodyguard star wants to become Queen Of The Jungle so she can raise some much needed funds for her chosen charity, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

(Image: Getty)

Now, Paulini is focused on the future, “and [showing] Australia that this black Fijian chick is just a really down-to-earth normal person” as she stars on the latest season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

“I want to win the 100k for my charity [Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia],” she says.

“I saw my dad suffer before he died from prostate cancer, and if I can make that suffering easier for just one person my time in the jungle will be worth it.”

Want more of our exclusive I’m A Celeb coverage? Check out the stories below!

“We felt like we were revealing too much”: I’m A Celebrity’s Toni Pearen reveals the reality of being in the jungle at her most vulnerable

“She moved her eyes over and looked at him”: I’m A Celebrity’s Mel Buttle hints at a potential jungle romance that hasn’t aired… yet

EXCLUSIVE: I’m A Celeb’s Jack Vidgen gets candid about his dad’s health battle and how it affected their relationship

EXCLUSIVE CLIP: Jack Vidgen shares the truth about his cosmetic surgery in a tense conversation on I’m A Celebrity

Related stories