I'm A Celebrity's Dicko defends Kerri-Anne amid backlash: 'Tough bird'

EXCLUSIVE: Dicko has revealed what viewers didn't get to see from Kerri-Anne's fight with Domenica.

Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson has defended Kerri-Anne Kennerley after she copped backlash following her heated spat with Domenica Calarco on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!.

The former Australian Idol judge, who was eliminated during Wednesday night’s episode and describes himself as “South Africa’s biggest loser” after dropping 6kg in the jungle, tells Yahoo Lifestyle he doesn’t believe Kerri-Anne deserves the amount of hate she’s been receiving online.

I’m A Celebrity’s Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.
I’m A Celebrity’s Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson has defended Kerri-Anne Kennerley following backlash online. Photos: Channel 10

“If I can have my ‘Leave Britney alone’ moment for Kerri-Anne, I would say the same,” he shares.

“You’ve got to put this in context. Kerri-Anne comes from a different era and I think in many ways she was a fish out of water on this show. I don't think she knew what she was getting into.

“And the other thing is, she’s grieving. She lost her beautiful husband John and she's still going through a grieving process. So I think it was really unfortunate that we got to that stage. It probably never should have gotten to that stage, but it did.”

Kerri-Anne’s husband John passed away in February 2019 at age 78 following a tragic fall in 2016 that left him paralysed.


Dicko adds that although Kerri-Anne is a friend of his who he thinks very highly of, she doesn’t need him to protect her because she’s “a tough bird”.

“She got to the top of the pile in a man's world on her own terms, and she will be able to move on from this,” he says. “She’s a lot stronger, but I think she's been quite vulnerable because she's gone through a really tough time.

“And I don't want to see her upset, but I have to say she was poking the bear in that particular situation. Her tone and her approach were bound to goad this girl who didn’t have a lot of restraint. So I thought, ‘Oh s**t this is going to get ugly’, and it did.”

I’m A Celebrity’s Domenica Calarco and Kerri-Anne Kennerley.
Domenica Calarco and Kerri-Anne got into a heated fight during an eating challenge. Photos: Channel 10

The shock moment that was edited out

Having appeared in a string of reality shows in the past, Dicko admits he was thrilled to be a part of such a dramatic TV moment when Dom and Kerri-Anne went head to head during a group challenge.

The former MAFS bride reportedly called the TV host “the most self-centred b***h” she's ever met, which led to Kerri-Anne tearfully quitting the reality show after just four days in the jungle.

“I have to say, having a ringside seat for that was f**king awesome,” Dicko remarks. “The subtext of it was you had the pristine elder stateswoman TV royalty - and very much the figurehead of the old guard - on one side, and on the other side of the table was the upstarts.

“The peasants were revolting in more ways than one and they were banging on the gates and saying, 'We no longer require the gatekeepers to let us in. I've got 500,000 Instagram followers, I can earn my own money, and I don't need to be talked down to by the likes of you'. And Dom went from naught to gremlin in five seconds.”

Dicko also reveals that viewers didn’t get to see everything that went down during the fight and claims Dom called Kerri-Anne “a c**t”.

“Obviously they couldn't put that to air on a Sunday night, but I'm certainly not going to take it to the grave. It was f**king spectacular!” he says.

“I wasn’t expecting it, Kerri-Anne wasn’t expecting it, and I'm not condoning that sort of foulmouth behaviour, but if it is going to rear its ugly head I'm just glad I was there. It was bloody fantastic, and the best thing was it had nothing to do with me so I couldn't get cancelled!”

I’m A Celebrity’s Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson.
‘I'm really glad I did it because I think I got far more out of this than they got out of me.’ Photo: Channel 10

Why Dicko said 'yes' to the show

Speaking about his own experience on I’m A Celebrity, Dicko shares that there were a few reasons why he finally said ‘yes’ to doing the reality show after being asked to appear every year prior.

“The short, smart answer is I got a rockstar pay cheque, I got to spend my 60th birthday on safari and I got to make a lot of interesting new celebrity friends,” he says.

“But the other answer, which is the real truth, is that I've kind of spent the last six years washing fame out of my hair. When fame left me and the phone stopped ringing, it kind of hurt and stung for a while and I realised how addicted I'd come to that person and what he represented and what he could achieve, and it was a little bit devastating.

“But then I kind of came to terms with it, and I think because I was free from the need to be famous or to have a profile I felt like it was probably the right time to say yes.

“I'm really glad I did it because I think I got far more out of this than they got out of me.”

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