I'm a former Premier League star burned by brutal reality TV… I beg all footballers to avoid falling into dark spiral | The Sun

JERMAINE PENNANT has advised current Premier League players to avoid the "dangers" of reality TV and warned "nothing good can come of it".

Pennant became the most expensive youth player in the history of football when Arsenal paid Notts County £2million to secure him when he was just 15.

He would go on to play for the likes of Liverpool and Stoke City before ending his career at Billericay Town in 2018.

After retiring, the former winger dipped his toe into the world of reality TV – appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 and Celebs Go Dating in 2019.

While on Celebrity Big Brother, Pennant appeared to flirt extensively with fellow contestant Chloe Ayling – despite being married to Alice Goodwin at the time.

He failed to disclose to Ayling that he was a married man.


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He claimed the way the show was edited almost destroyed his marriage.

He told The Sun in 2019: "I had no idea what was going on when I was in Celebrity Big Brother.

"In there I know how it is, but the way they edit it, it looks 100 per cent worse. They are showing five minutes of a 24 hour day. There were times when I never had a conversation with a girl."

Despite undergoing couples counselling as part of Celebs go Dating, Pennant and Goodwin went their separate ways in 2020 after nine years of marriage.

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And now Pennant has warned current footballers that are in a similar position to him to avoid the additional spotlight reality TV can bring.


He was asked by Lord Ping about the dangers of reality TV for footballers at the end of their careers, with the company asking if he would advise someone like Jack Grealish not to follow his path.

Pennant responded: “I would urge footballers to stay away from reality TV.

"There’s nothing good to come from it. Reality TV is all about controversy, they don’t care if you look good or bad, it’s all about entertainment value and production.

"If you’re a footballer and that’s your niche that you’ve worked your whole life for, then to go to reality TV kind of washes that out and taints it to a certain degree.

“Then trying to move on from reality TV is very difficult. You get a few who do well after, but 90 per cent find themselves in a dark spiral just to keep relevant. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s a life to live, nothing good can come from it.”

Pennant is not the only former footballer to enter the Celebrity Big Brother house.

He followed in the footsteps of former Tottenham star Jamie O'Hara, who appeared on the show in 2017.

While in the Boreham Wood studio home, O'Hara shared smooches with Nicola McLean and Bianca Gascoigne.

John Barnes and Neil 'Razor' Ruddock are two other ex-pros that found themselves on the show.

Meanwhile, Pennant recently bravely opened up about his own childhood trauma in the aftermath of Dele Alli's emotional interview on The Overlap with Gary Neville.

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He revealed he was called "the Cornflake Kid" by cruel bullies after neglect from both his parents left him with not enough to eat at home.

He also opened up about how his mum was rarely in the house to look after him and how his father experienced substance abuse problems throughout his childhood.

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