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I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Luke Jacobz reflects on a difficult few years: "Why I had to leave Australia"

On the eve of entering the jungle on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! Luke opens up to TV WEEK

By Zara Zubeidi
Moving overseas in search of a big break in Hollywood is a rite of passage for many up-and-coming Aussie stars. However when former X Factor Australia host Luke Jacobz left for the States in 2015, it was for an entirely different reason; he needed a distraction to forget about the death of his beloved father, John, who had passed away earlier that year.
"I wanted to run away from dealing with it," Luke, 37, exclusively told TV WEEK ahead of his stint on I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!. "I thought if I went over there, I'd be distracted."
What followed in LA was an emotional journey. The clear high point was when Luke met his now fiancée, Raychel. But there were many lows, including Luke's on-going struggle to find steady work. The actor and presenter admits that at that time, he harboured a growing fear that he'd made "a huge mistake".
"Work wise, it wasn't panning out as well as I'd imagined," Luke admits. "Mentally, it really hurt. I was low and felt like a disappointment. I thought I'd lost my career - and that it was all my fault."

Things started to turn around in 2017 when Luke returned to Australia to host new series, Instant Hotel. Determined to take the gig while maintaining a long-distance relationship with Raychel, Luke would fly between LA and Sydney for work.
But Luke was dealt yet another blow in 2018 when it was announced that he'd been replaced by former House Rules judge, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.
"I was gutted," he says. "That was my job for the year. We were set to do another season but then they decided to go with someone else."
"So 2018 was the slowest year of my life in terms of work. I didn't do anything – no acting, presenting or MC work. It was a quiet year."
Despite his disappointment, Luke says he understands the network's decision to replace him.
"They needed someone with an eye for design. I'm not a home builder, I'm a host. If I was replaced by another host, I'd be upset."
However with hindsight, Luke says the decision to replace him was a "blessing in disguise."
"The producers wanted confrontation between the contestants and I hate that sort of stuff," Luke says. "I wasn't comfortable with the bitchiness element of it."

2019 marks the beginning of a more promising chapter for the star – and it's off to a flying start after Luke entered the jungle this week on I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! His chosen charity on the show is Carrie Bickmore's charity, Beanies 4 Brain Cancer, which is in memory of his dad who passed away from the disease.
Luke reveals he's approached the experience with a spirit of adventure.
"I think it's going to be a lot of fun and I think people are going to have a laugh watching me freak out," Luke says. "This sort of show is set up to push boundaries, which I'm both scared and excited about!"
"I just hope there's someone in there who can teach me about something I don't know anything about. I have ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] so I've always had to find ways to entertain myself. I'm hoping to create stupid games with the other celebrities."

To read more about Luke's plans for the future - including his upcoming wedding - pick up a copy of the new issue of TV WEEK. On sale now!

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