Ex-Gogglebox star Chris Ashby-Steed has discussed how he has felt in the year since leaving the show after a feud with his friend Stephen Webb, revealing he has been struggling with his mental health.
Friends Chris and Stephen, who live in Brighton, starred on the programme from the very beginning and their hilarious remarks about the week’s TV soon saw them become fan favourites.
However, the pals had a falling out in 2018 with Chris stepping down from the show while Stephen did one series with his mum, and the latest with his new husband.
Speaking to the Mirror, Chris has explained why they stopped being friends in the first place, stating that they were both planning to leave the show together.
“We had a production company that was interested in taking us on,” he said. “They wanted to get us out there as a brand.
“But Stephen decided to copy me in to an email to the studio saying he was going to terminate our joint venture. After he sent that email I didn’t speak to him for a little while because I was hurt by it.”
When Gogglebox then offered them their place back, Chris says Stephen claimed he wasn’t “sure I can put up with you every other week filming”.
They then decided the pair could film on alternate weeks, with one new person joining each of them, but Chris says he was told the person he suggested “wasn’t going to work”.
He subsequently announced his decision to leave last year, now stating that in the time since he has “felt like a failure”.
“I’ve been depressed, I struggle in social situations, I’m agoraphobic,” he said. “I’m worried about people coming up to me and asking why I left the show.
“I felt I couldn’t tell the truth. I avoid going out now. I’ve been seeing a counsellor every week.”
Stephen declined to comment when approached by HuffPost UK.
A spokesperson for the show said: “Chris has not contacted us since he made the decision to leave the show.
“The duty of care of the Gogglebox contributors is of paramount importance.”
The Gogglebox line-up has undergone numerous changes in the years since the show first started airing and other fan favourites, including the Moffat family and Reverend Kate Bottley.
Alongside Stephen, the only other series one originals still on the show are the Siddiqui family.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.