After 21 days roughing it in the jungle, 22 pounds shed and more than 125 debilitating bug bites, Stephen Baldwin shocked America on last night’s edition of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! when he quit the show. With Stephen’s departure, last week’s evictee Holly Montag was unanimously voted back into camp. But it didn’t last long. After losing a trial to John Salley, it was bye-bye, Holly.
Despite having only a few days left until the finale, his camp mates did their best to change his mind. But it was to no avail. And while it appeared Stephen was a quitter, he insists his health was the instigator. “The whole bug bite situation had so physically debilitated me, I just knew there was no way I couldn’t finish as well as I wanted to,” he says. “So all I could do was get healthy.”
Still, Stephen is walking out of the jungle a new man with a new outlook on life. “It was weird, on and off over the 21 days, to mentally freak out about how much I wanted a cup of coffee.” he tells In Touch. “I’ll take away a greater and deeper understanding of self reflection.”
After playing host to a nasty mess of parasites buried in his skin, TV hosting is not in Stephen’s immediate future. Though, he admits, he’s not adverse to a possible reality show with his brother Daniel Baldwin, who joined him in the jungle. But don’t expect any family camping trips when he gets home. “Yeah, family camping trips are out,” he laughs. “I think they just want me to chill for a while.”
For more with last night’s eliminated contestant, click here.
Eliminated June 22
“My wife feels like she has a new man”
Why leave with only five days left?
Stephen: I made a commitment to do the show and do my best and win as best I could. A lot of people don’t know the specifics of why I left. What happened was on the eighth day of being in the jungle, I had already received 125 pretty severe insect bites. I also have this allergy to shellfish that could induce anaphylactic shock. The medical team there explained to me that I had been suffering a similar reaction to anaphylactic shock because of the number of bug bites. I did stay, but they put me on high doses of Benadryl. And with five days left, my health, strength and immune system had deteriorated to the point where I started getting a stomach bug. You didn’t see it all on the show, but the whole bug bite situation had so physically debilitated me, I just knew there was no way I couldn’t finish as well as I wanted. All I could do was get healthy. I’ve been snacking on little cookies and am back on the coffee, but only one a day, as my stomach got sour. I’m trying to be a good boy, eating a lot of fresh fruit. But my wife feels like she has a new man — I am riding that wave all the way!
That didn’t play out on the show, it seemed more about family issues. How are you feeling now?
Stephen: I didn’t speak to my family in 21days. Of course I missed them, but it was mostly to do with the medical situation. I am feeling much better now. I left last Friday afternoon and spent most of the next three days vomiting, as my stomach had shrunk so much. I am getting back to normal now. I also had two bug bites that had started to become an infestation of fly larva in my skin, so we had to remove those. That was kind of gross — like something from a bad sci-fi movie.
You did Fear Factor once. Was this tougher?
Stephen: This was way, way beyond anything I have done before. I mean I lost 22 pounds. That is a fact. When you only have a cup of rice and beans for breakfast, one for lunch, then a meal you share with everyone that amounts to about a third of what you get at a regular restaurant — that coupled with the elements (being in the jungle and the downpours) — all of it was way wilder than I anticipated.
Before the show, you said you didn’t think Sanjaya would make it. Are you surprised?
Stephen: I know! I was so totally eaten by Sanjaya. I thought homeboy would punk out on us in the first five minutes. It turns out he had this hidden little Mowgli vibe going on that nobody could have anticipated. My guess is either Lou or Torrie are going to finish. Torrie would make an outstanding Queen of the Jungle.
What will you take away from this and what did you learn about yourself?
Stephen: It’s really led to, or it forced upon me, this awareness I have of myself. We really don’t realize how good we have it, regardless of celebrity. There are so many things we take for granted. It was weird, on and off over the 21 days, to mentally freak out about how much I wanted a cup of coffee. I’ll take away a greater and deeper understanding of self-reflection. This taught me about the quality time with the wife and kids. Meditation and just unplugging from the world is really an undervalued understanding.
Will you do another reality show, maybe with your brother Daniel?
Stephen: For about 10 months, we have been developing a couple of concepts. There is talk now, after this, about my brother Daniel and I doing something. That’s something I am into as long as the thrust of the show is something that makes sense and is fun. We might go back into the jungle and find a rare tribe of pygmies and try to become their kings — I am kidding!