I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

EXCLUSIVE: I'm A Celeb winner Miguel Maestre was left feeling "incomplete" after 31 days without his family

''It was like something was missing. I could not stop crying and shaking.''

By Rebecca Sullivan
The last time celebrity chef Miguel Maestre went on a reality TV show, he was booted off in the first week.
It's safe to say that Miguel, 40, is not the best dancer in Australia - if his one-week stint on Dancing With The Stars last year is anything to go by - but he's quickly become one of our most-loved celebrities, thanks to his heartwarming appearance on I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! this year.
And on Sunday night he officially won over the hearts and minds of Australia, as he was crowned king of the jungle, winning $100,000 to be donated to his chosen charity, R U OK?
The charismatic Spaniard told us he lost 10kg in the 31 days he was in the jungle, thanks to the show's brutal diet, so he was thrilled to chow down on his first proper meal in a month.
"My first meal was carbonara fettucine with truffle and lots of cheese on top. It was heaven. I swallowed that whole bowl of pasta in about 30 seconds," he joked to Now To Love just hours after being crowned the winner.
And after a month off the booze, he was definitely keen to celebrate his win with a cocktail.
"It's been a long wait without a drink. I've already had four margaritas, they tasted so good," he said.
Miguel was crowned the winner of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here! on Sunday night. Channel 10
But it was being reunited with his wife of 10 years Sascha and his two children - Morgan, five, and Claudia, eight - that was the best reward for Miguel.
Miguel's family travelled to South Africa to be with him during the finale, and he burst into tears when he saw his loved ones for the first time in a month, without any contact whatsoever.
"My family is my everything. The fact that I didn't know anything about them for 31 days, with no communication and no notion of time or even what day it was, that was really heavy," he said.
Miguel pictured with his wife Sascha and their two kids, Morgan and Claudia, after winning I'm A Celeb. Channel 10
Speaking about the moment he was reunited with his kids for the first time, Miguel said he was completely overwhelmed.
"Suddenly I heard their names and I saw Morgan's cheeky smile and my heart fell into the ground and broke. Not having them with me, it was like I was incomplete. It was like something was missing. I could not stop crying and shaking. It was one of the most real things that's happened to me."
Miguel broke down in tears when he saw his kids for the first time. Channel 10
Miguel missed Morgan's first day of school because he was in the jungle, but he said his son understands why he wasn't there for the important occasion.
"I explained to him that Papa was doing something for other people, so that's why he couldn't be there for his first day of school."
The family plan to celebrate their reunion with dinner at their favourite restaurant.
"I'm so close to my children. I gave up my dream of having a restaurant so I could spend more time with them," Miguel said.
"And Sascha, she is my rock, she is my everything. She has always supported me in everything I do."
Miguel with this wife and kids. Instagram
Miguel chose to support mental health charity R U OK? after witnessing first hand just how severe the issue of mental illness and suicide is among men, particularly male chefs.
The deaths of several high profile chefs by suicide recently, including Anthony Bourdain and Jeremy Strode, has led to a renewed focus on mental health in the hospitality industry.
"Thousands of Australians die by suicide everyday. We are living in a pressured environment and lots of people close to me have lost their battles with mental health," Miguel said.
"Everyone knows about it. So I wanted this opportunity for me to raise awareness, to encourage people should ask the question. It's OK to not be OK."
WATCH BELOW: See the moment Miguel Maestre was booted off Dancing With The Stars in 2019. Story continues after video.
Miguel won't get much time to rest after his month-long stint in the jungle.
On Friday, he's back to filming a new show on Channel 10 alongside his former The Living Room hosts Amanda Keller, Barry DuBois and Dr Chris Brown.
But that doesn't mean he won't have time for a fun reunion soon with his fellow I'm A Celeb! contestants.
The crew, who say they bonded for life while in camp, have planned a big catch up event in a few weeks time.
"Everyone is already organising [a reunion] in Melbourne and Sydney," Miguel said.
"Everyone is really looking forward to seeing each other out of the jungle, so we can get a beer together and have a have a big celebration."

For more I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! content, check these links out below!