Chantelle Houghton – ‘I don’t need a man to fix me, I’m happier than ever’

Reality star Chantelle Houghton won over the nation when she blagged her way to victory as a pretend pop singer in the 2006 series of Celebrity Big Brother (yes, it really was that long ago).

Now, with the show set for a riveting revival, she tells new how her unusual introduction to fame changed her life and why she’s considering returning to the house.

“It was the most incredible, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she says during our exclusive chat. “It was life changing. I was so glad of the opportunity. I loved every minute of it.

“Up until that point, I didn’t know where my life was going. Then I walked in that house and it shaped my whole future.”

Chantelle, now mum to 10-year-old Dolly, has just celebrated her milestone 40th birthday.

Currently single, she tells us, “I’m concentrating on my life and I’m in a really good place with my health and my wellbeing.”

Since winning CBB all those years ago, the Essex-born star has experienced her fair share of heartache – starting with her highly publicised whirlwind romance with fellow housemate Samuel Preston, frontman of rock band The Ordinary Boys.

“It was a whole love story – pure and innocent and lovely,” she recalls.

They tied the knot seven months after meeting in the house, but called it quits 10 months later in June 2007.

“We’re still in touch,” Chantelle reveals. “We still talk, we’ll send messages to each other about funny things we remember. We’re really, really good friends.”

Despite their failed marriage, Chantelle says there’s only one thing she’d change on CBB – and it isn’t her relationship with Preston.

“My hair extensions that I went in with were just awful, absolutely awful,” she laughs.

With Big Brother set to return on ITV2 next month, presented by AJ Odudu and Will Best, Chantelle says if she were asked to go back into the house, it would be a “no-brainer” for her.

“Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, it’s such a great experience,” she says. “It’s four weeks of fun, twists and turns, no bills to pay. You get fed, watered and a roof over your head, so 100 per cent I would.”

There would certainly be plenty of emotional stories for Chantelle to share with her housemates during those late-night chats in the garden.

To the surprise of her fans, in 2012, Chantelle all but disappeared from public life.

“I took quite a long break and stepped back from the public eye due to personal reasons,” she says. “That time was quite horrific and I’m now concentrating on getting my life back together.”

She’s now looking to the future and wants to use her experiences of difficult relationships, and the lessons she has learnt, to help other women.

“For me, there was nowhere I could turn, like a women’s group,” she says. “I know having access to something like that would have really helped me.”

Her plan is to organise weekly meetings for women, offering them a place of sanctuary where they can share their stories and seek advice.

“They can come and just feel safe and talk, to know that they’re not alone and that other people are going through similar situations. When I was going through tough times, I thought it was just me and that nobody else would know how I was feeling or what I was going through. The comfort of knowing that you’re not alone is so important.”

At the height of her unhappiness, Chantelle put on four stone, but she says she’s now the “fittest and healthiest” she’s ever been and is determined to stay that way.

In stark contrast to her younger years, she spent her 40th birthday last week at a spa, meditating and drinking green tea.

Finding her special someone is the only missing piece for Chantelle – who dated TV presenter Rav Wilding in 2010, was briefly engaged to Katie Price’s ex-husband Alex Reid and split from fiancé Michael Strutt in 2021 – but she’s not in a hurry to be tied down again.

“I’m not looking, but I’m not ‘not looking’ either,” she says. “I’m the happiest I’ve been in everything, so I’m not searching for a man to fix me like I might have done years ago. I’m just happy with me.

“Previously if I went on a date, I’d think, ‘Does he really like me?’ but now I think, ‘Do I like him?’ And that shows how much I’ve grown. I know what I want and what I don’t want. I’m now at a place where I’m really comfortable with me.”

Chantelle was speaking on behalf of ICE 36 (

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