Mario Falcone has said he credits his sister Giovanna Fletcher with saving his life when he struggled with depression and attempted to take his own life.
The Only Way Is Essex star said I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! winner Fletcher encouraged him to share his feelings when he got to his lowest point nine years ago.
He told Hello! magazine: “Giovanna was amazing. The ‘Mama Gi’ we saw on TV… she has always been that.
“She is super organised in a crisis and just knew what to do and got me to counselling.
“As a man you have your guard up and I felt I had to put on this kind of bravado, but she told me ‘you need to open up’. That saved my life without a doubt.”
Falcone, who is engaged to partner Becky Miesner, with whom he shares son Parker, is now an ambassador for Papyrus, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, and he said he was horrified to discover how primary age children suffer with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.
He said: “The thought of young children even having those thoughts is shocking.
“I will always want Parker to be aware he can talk to us, to communicate how he is feeling.
“You teach your children how to walk, how to talk, I think you have to teach them how to open up, so it becomes second nature.”
He continued: “I know that feeling of darkness. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have transitioned from the place I was in to where I am now.
“I have an amazing fiancee, a beautiful son, and a sense of accomplishment in my journey from there to where I am today.”
He is now hopeful his wedding to Miesner will be able to go ahead in Italy this summer.
He said: “We hope to have the wedding in June, so we have to see how guests feel and if it’s safe to fly.
“I always wanted to get married in Italy because of my heritage and we found this venue on the coast with insane views.”
The full interview is in Hello!, out now.