Monday 5 December 2016

Celebrity psychologist on why she quit Big Brother - ‘There’s an ethical line and it has been crossed in my opinion’

Published 03/02/2016 | 11:34

Celebrity psychologist Jo Hemmings has said that the pressure from producers to place unbalanced celebrities into the Big Brother house was partly behind her decision to quit the hit show.
Celebrity psychologist Jo Hemmings has said that the pressure from producers to place unbalanced celebrities into the Big Brother house was partly behind her decision to quit the hit show.

Celebrity psychologist Jo Hemmings has said that the pressure from producers to place unbalanced celebrities into the Big Brother house was partly behind her decision to quit the hit show.

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The behavioural psychologist previously accessed celebrities ahead of their appearance on the reality show, but said that the pressure to place celebrities who might not be able to cope into the house questioned her professional integrity.

Speaking on this morning’s Anton Savage Show, Jo was asked if her moral compass was ever pushed by producers during her assessments of certain celebrities.

“Very much so,” she answered.

“Which is partly why I no longer access contestants for [Big Brother] because I feel uncomfortable and it does question my professional integrity,” she said.

“I know I have to put in people who are entertaining. I don’t want to put in dull people. But there’s an ethical line and it has been crossed in my opinion.”

The British psychologist, who also helps couples cope with relationship breakdowns, revealed the elements that might make a contestant an unsuitable candidate for the show.

“Alcohol is perhaps the big one. When people have had alcohol dependency problems and they are put in a house where there is constant partying. There’s a lot of it and it’s deliberately there to fuel a bit of entertainment. I find that worrying and I think it’s not right.

“Some people are very good. They know that they can’t drink and they stay strong and resist it. Others you just know from assessments that they’re going to go back,” she said.

The psychologist also opened up about Angie Bowie on this year’s series of Big Brother, who opted to stay in the house following the death of her ex-husband David Bowie.

“I think she should have left the house out of respect, for their son at least,” she said.

Hemmings is in Ireland to promote a new study conducted by Domino’s Ireland, which has revealed that Irish people have a very poor work/life balance.

The study found that the majority of people are never completely turned off from social media influences and messages, which can interfere with our home life and even our sleep patterns.

Hemmings said: “Many of us are on 24/7 ‘watch’ on social media and text messages. This not only deprives us of sleep, but also means that our brains never really get much of an opportunity to ‘switch off’, which can add to stress, anxiety and potentially burn-out.

“There has also been a shift in expectations from employers and colleagues: because we can be available 24/7, we will be. This ‘work noise’, intruding into our home lives, has a cumulative effect which can make it very difficult to switch off from our professional lives when we are trying to have downtime at home, which creates tension and stress.”

Hemmings admitted that our social media addiction and inability to put away our smart phones is having an impact on our relationships.

“As a relationship counsellor, I know that loss of intimacy or quality time as a couple, is one of the biggest causes of relationship concerns. When one partner starts to feel neglected or side-lined, due to the busy lives of their partner, the dynamics of a balanced, relationship starts to alter and communication begins to break down, causing anything from quiet, brewing resentment to major arguments,” she said.

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