I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Understanding why Bernard Tomic quit I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

Take a seat, you're about to be served a dose of reality.

By Chloe Lal

Last night, for the first time in the history of Channel Ten's reality show, Bernard Tomic uttered the words:

"I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here".

Which, for those watching at home, is kinda the entire premise of the program.

The network sends stars into the African wilderness and does their very best to break them... All in the name of entertainment.

And in the aftermath of Tomic's shock exit just two days in, the nation is having some major feels about the whole scandal.

Before we go any further, let's make one thing clear - although Bernard Tomic is by no means a poster boy for tennis he's had a rough ride to fame. Growing up in the spotlight as a young tennis prodigy and finding acclaim at the tender age of 12 can't be the easiest way to spend your childhood.

Bernard entered the South African jungle over the weekend and survived just over 48 hours... Not exactly a gallant effort.

Cast your minds back to the likes of Casey Donovan, Maureen McCormick and even Tziporah Malkah - all stars that found the show to be ridiculously challenging but managed to stick it out.

Bernard Tomic said the magic words and set himself free on Tuesday night.
Bernard Tomic said the magic words and set himself free on Tuesday night.

There's very little doubt that Bernard was paid a pretty penny to appear on the reality show. So when he strolled into the Tok-Toki and requested to speak to the executive producer, the entire country knew s--- was going down.

"I need some peace. This is going to knock me around for a week, two weeks. I'm just not coping. It's too risky. I don't know if I can do it. I'd like to speak to someone," he said before leaving the show.

Many of his campmates were shocked over his decision and if he played his cards right, the nation could have fallen in love with him. After all, it's one of the most powerful PR opportunities on offer to a dwindling celeb struggling with their reputation. Just ask Shane Warne!

Fiona O'Loughlin mused, "I think it would have been much smarter for Bernard to stay and do another trial and do it successfully to avoid maybe being accused of being a a flake."

Jackie Gillies was clearly upset by Bernard's departure and cried: "I think he puts a huge amount of pressure on himself and sometimes I think he's a bit sad. And that saddens me."

Dr. Chris Brown was very sympathetic and pointed out that more mental health issues may have been at play.

"When I've been watching you in the camp, you're not a happy guy. It feels like you've got other things to deal with. I don't care about anything else, or your tennis career. I want you in a year's time to be happy."

He then asked, "Is that a priority of yours, as a person, just to be happy?"

Taking a moment, Bernard said, "As soon as I got there my mind was a bit twisted. And the more hours I spent in there, the more depressed I became. I had a bad year and didn't play that much tennis and I'm regretting my 2017 season."

However host Julia Morris admitted she was "absolutely furious" over Tomic's decision, before labelling him a "quitter".

After he walked, she grilled him and asked: "Why did you even bother to go in? What does this mean for your charity?"

The 25-year-old responded, "I think coming here was the wrong move."

"I thought by coming here it would make me a super happy person... I thought it would change me as soon as I got in."

Watch Julia Morris go to town in a chat with Carrie Bickmore about Tomic's departure.

From his very short time on the show, it's clear Bernard Tomic is a troubled and confused young man.

"Half the time during the day, I'm just depressed," he admitted to fellow contestant Jackie.

"I've never really had time to think about my thoughts. I've always had people around, my mobile phone, everything was so fast-paced."

"Everything's slowed down in the last few days. I don't want to spend half my time depressed here. Thinking about how I played last year and where I should be."

"I wasted this whole last year of not playing a lot of tennis and being professional. I need to be competing and playing in what I do best and that's why I've decided to leave."

And while the nation is divided over his actions, Ten quickly came under fire for penning this tweet, which they soon deleted: "Tomic quitting… something sounds familiar here… we can't place it."

The athlete wasn't prepared for how gruelling the environment can be.
The athlete wasn't prepared for how gruelling the environment can be.

"Disgraceful tweet. I'm no fan of his, but you seem to have either made a real error putting this kid on... or, you did it on purpose knowing the train wreck that could ensue. Either way, shame on you," one outraged viewer penned.

"This tweet is bloody disgraceful. Clearly the time for him to have some arms wrapped around him and given help not publicly mocked by the channel that put him there," commented another.

A third noted: "Well done picking on a kid with mental issues."

The show's executive producer Alex Mavroidakis told Nova's Fitzy and Wippa this morning that Bernard had drafted a text three days before starting the show that he was pulling out.

"He told me - and I believe him - that he composed a text message three days before he got on the plane and that he'd changed his mind and didn't want to do it. So he obviously wasn't in the right head space at all," Alex said.

He went on to mention that Bernard's less-than-stellar performance at the Australian Open really affected him.

"It was a wake-up call for him that he should really be in the Australian Open semi-finals," Alex added.

Many would recognise Alex, seeing him ask Bernard on the show: "if he'd really thought this through" before telling the tennis player to "look him in the eye" and confirm that he wanted to quit.

No matter his reason for doing the show, at the end of the day it wasn't for him.
No matter his reason for doing the show, at the end of the day it wasn't for him.

It should be noted that Alex is not a psychiatrist or a medical professional.

Neither is fellow executive producer Stephen Tate.

Though Stephen did tell Kyle and Jackie O, "He's not as troubled as you might think, he's actually quite clear in what he wants," before adding that Bernard underwent a "full psychological testing" before the premiere.

Bernard himself stated he was "depressed" whilst in the jungle.

"I saw him right before he went into the jungle and he had his eye on the prize [and was] talking about winning it, but I don't think he understood the reality of the social deprivation that you have in there," Stephen said on-air.

"He couldn't be in a safer place, you've got 24 hour psych and medical care when you're with us and you're also monitored constantly," he added.

"Really it's actually isolation that's the real danger when it comes to mental health, he couldn't have had more people around him to take care of that."

The EP continued, "He told us that he went in there because he wanted people to understand who he is. I think he's shown a bit of humanity and humility, he didn't talk about his money and actually engaged with the other celebrities."

Bernard is only 25, making him one of the youngest celebrities to join the cast.

But despite his fragile state, it hasn't stopped Australia's biggest names in sport condemning him online.

Last year's runner-up Dane Swan tweeted, "Ya got millions Tomic so while your busy counting it all when you get back home how's bout you donate 10k to your charity that have missed out on much needed $$$."

"You won't miss it. That's all, jog on now bud."

Let's take a minute to look at Dane's comment.

The 33-year-old, who has had his fair share of controversies and off-field drama, is almost 10 years older than Bernard.

As an athlete, who was once infamously charged with 13 offences including assault, affray and intentionally causing serious injury, you'd think there'd be a little more compassion.

Dane came second last year.
Dane came second last year.

As a viewer, it really does seem like Bernard needs not only help, but some empathy.

And adolescent psychologist Dr Carr-Gregg agrees.

"He appeared to me to be in a very low mood. I wouldn't go so far as to say he was clinically depressed but I would say he didn't seem to me to be in a psychological state to be put through what he was put through," he told News Corp after the first episode.

"I question the wisdom of having someone who's so young — he's only 25 — and whether or not he's in a good psychological space."

Giving his professional opinion, he added, "I would question the wisdom of the producers of putting someone in that scenario who is not 100 per cent."

Bernard Tomic may have gone on to the show to make a quick buck - and to be fair, what 20-something would say no to that opportunity?

He may have wanted a chance to re-brand his image.

And sadly, it didn't work out.

At the end of the day, I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! is supposed to be a light-hearted reality TV show.

After watching Bernard last night, it's clear he's a little boy lost and maybe we should stop throwing stones at the kid and give him the chance to get the help he needs.

If you're seeking support and information about depression, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.