GOGGLEBOX star Chris Ashby-Steed has hit out at the TV industry for “failing” Mike Thalassitis – just days after he revealed that quitting the Channel 4 show left him feeling “suicidal”.
Mike, who shot to fame in the 2017 series of Love Island, was tragically found dead in a North London woods on Saturday at the age of 26.
Taking to his Twitter page, 42-year-old Chris sent his condolences to Mike’s family as he backed other celebs’ call for reality TV stars to be given better after care.
He wrote: “My thoughts go out to the family of @MikeThalassitis. Others are raising questions about reality aftercare.
“Totally agree. I’ve had none since being bullied off @C4Gogglebox & contemplated suicide last year.
“I’m now realising it’s an industry-wide failing. This has got to change.”
The Sun Online have contacted Gogglebox for comment.
At the weekend, Chris sensationally broke his silence on why he left Gogglebox having initially signed up alongside ex-boyfriend Stephen Webb for the show’s very first series in 2013.
The two men – who’d remained good friends after their split – were sofa staples, with fans left shocked when Stephen’s mum Pat replaced Chris in series 11 last year.
In the most recent series of the Channel 4 show, which is currently on air, Stephen is joined by his husband Daniel Lustig.
Speaking to The Mirror, hairdresser Chris revealed that he’d fallen out with his friend and suffered from severe depression in recent months.
He said: “There have been times where I’ve felt so low that I think, ‘How can I kill myself?’”
He went on to add that the pair were originally set to leave Gogglebox together after a production company approached them for a separate venture.
However, Chris was left in the lurch when Stephen emailed the studio to terminate the production without consulting his co-star.
Chris continued: “After he sent that email I didn’t speak to him for a little while because I was hurt by it.”
He then recalled telling 46-year-old Stephen “I get the impression that I think a lot more of you than you do of me” – and was shocked when the TV star told him that he was “probably right”.
The telly favourite said that Gogglebox producers agreed to let both men appear with new partners on alternate weeks of the show, which is when Stephen drafted in his mum.
However, bosses weren’t happy with Chris’ suggestion for his new partner telling him that it “wasn’t going to work”, and he announced his departure from the show in February last year.
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Opening up about how the entire incident affected his mental health, Chris shared: “I’ve felt like a failure, I’ve been depressed, I struggle in social situations, I’m agoraphobic.
“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.”
Chris is the latest in a long line of reality TV stars to call for TV producers to take on a higher duty of care once reality contestants have left the show – with Love Island star Sophie Gradon also taking her own life last year.
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