The Block winner Tess Struber opens up on death threats from trolls: 'Awful'

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

One half of The Block couple that won the show in 2019, Tess Struber has opened up about the 'awful' online trolling she's experienced since rising to fame.

Tess, who bagged a whopping $730,000 profit with her husband, Luke, told It's All Her podcast host Jordy Lucas that the abuse was so bad at one point that she received death threats.

The Block season 2019 contestants Luke and Tess on set. Photo: Instagram/jess_cleopha.
Luke and Tess Struber won The Block in 2019. Photo: Channel Nine.

She also revealed that other social media users have taken photos of her and Luke's seven-month-old daughter, Cleo, and tried to pass them off as their own child.

"I've had someone steal photos of my little girl and use it as their photos of their little girl, and then tell me they are going to come and kill me," Tess said.

Tess added that she'd even come across Cleo's ultrasound images on another person's account.

"[It is] shocking... someone was using one of her scan photos when she was still in the womb."

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The Block season 2019 contestants Luke and Tess with their baby daughter, Cleo at her baptism celebration. Photo: Instagram/jess_cleopha.
Luke and Tess with their seven-month-old daughter, Cleo. Photo: Instagram/tess_cleopha.

And it wasn't just photos of her baby girl that were being shared by strangers — Tess found someone who'd 'stolen' pics of her dog, Tilly, and was claiming the pet as their own.

Despite having a 'long history suffering anxiety, Tess appears to have left the disturbing incidents behind her and now simply feels sorry for trolls.

"It's awful, but generally they're just kids or people who have nothing better to do. I feel sorry for them I really do," she said.

Jordy and Tess discussed the Federal Government's proposed anti-trolling laws, which could force social media companies to reveal the identities of anonymous online trolls if another person accuses them of defamation.

"I hope it [the legislation] works. I really do. But trolling, I don't know how we are going to end it," Tess mused.

Tess and Luke won a record-breaking $730k on The Block in 2019 when their Melbourne renovation sold for $630,000 above its reserve. The Cairns couple also snagged $100k in prize money after the auction.

But in November last year, the pair told Stellar that they still had yet to spend a dollar, with the arrival of Cleo and the Covid pandemic putting their overseas travel plans on hold.

The Block contestants Tanya and Vito are interviewed by Nova’s Fitzy & Wippa. Photo: Nova.
The Block couple Tanya and Vito revealed they'd received death threats from online trolls. Photo: Nova.

Tanya and Vito trolled

Tess isn't the only star of The Block to encounter trolling online. Back in September, The Block: Fans v Faves contestants Tanya and Vito revealed that they've received death threats in the wake of the infamous cheating scandal.

The pair made the admission during a chat with Nova's Fitzy & Wippa, saying that they've been hit with 'abusive comments and emails' from angry viewers.

"Obviously we're doing our best to stay offline but there has been people that have been… there's been death threats," Tanya told Fitzy and Wippa on a video call.

"You're kidding me! What are they?" Wippa asked.

"Oh, 'If I find you on the street, you better watch your back'," Tanya quoted in reply.

"People have called Vito’s business and called my agent because I'm a makeup artist and they’ve called my agent and left them abusive, abusive comments and emails.

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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