Moaning I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! stars should be thankful for their meagre rations, former hostage Terry Waite has said.
Gemma Collins was the first celebrity to leave the jungle after complaining of feeling starved.
But Mr Waite, who spent years in captivity after being kidnapped by Islamic terrorists in the Lebanon, compared life in the jungle as ‘paradise’ to the ‘real jungle’ suffered by the homeless living on the streets at Christmas.
He said: “I have no doubt they find it uncomfortable at times, but in reality it’s not all that bad.
“Rice and beans is not too hard to bear for a couple of weeks.
“That was my main diet in captivity for almost five years and I survived.”
TOWIE star Gemma, also concerned about contracting malaria, vowed to ‘stay strong’, but left after three days when the struggle became too much to bear.
But Mr Waite, president of homeless charity Emmaus, said the ‘trials’ faced by the celebrities were nothing compared to the hardship faced by those without a home.
He added: “It’s really terrible to be homeless and have to suffer night after night under the arches, or in a hostel where one is surrounded by threats of every kind, most of them far worse than the trials endured by these well-paid participants.
“It was interesting to see in a recent episode how emotional the celebrities became when they received a parcel from home with messages from their families.
“Some of them were in tears and they had only been parted for a matter of weeks, if that!
“Imagine how people living on the streets feel when Christmas comes round and people across the country are getting together.
“They may well have lost all contact with their family for a variety of reasons and thoughts of the past come flooding back.
“Christmas can be a very hard time indeed for many homeless people.
“It could make that jungle look like a paradise.”
Mr Waite, who was released in 1991, nearly five years after being kidnapped by Islamic Jihad while working as a hostage negotiator, said he was tempted by a ‘large fee’ go to on the show, but declined after being approached many years ago.
But ‘curious’ to see how the celebrities have been getting on, he has watched the tears and tantrums from Down Under.
Writing on the Emmaus charity website, he added: “When all is said and done, ‘I’m a Celebrity’ is designed as entertainment and we can’t take it too seriously.
“However we look at it though, homelessness is not entertaining.
“It’s a grim reality, but Emmaus has enabled hundreds of people to get out of a real jungle and gain stability in their lives.”