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Northern Ireland reality star Ronan Rice is ready to hit the big time

By Rebecca Black

For most people, spending a night with an ex-partner and stripping off on television would rank among their worst fears. But one Downpatrick man says he found the experience liberating.

Aspiring actor Ronan Rice (22) is well on his way to becoming a reality veteran and has hinted he is set to star in his biggest show yet this summer.

Last week the performing arts graduate's episode on Channel 5's One Night With My Ex saw him rejected by his former boyfriend.

But he said he received mostly positive feedback, with television reviewers describing him as a "lovely lad".

The series sees former couples reunited for 24 hours, and delves into the heart of their broken romance.

"I was struggling this year because all my friends had got into relationships and moving away, so I thought it would be a really good opportunity to patch things up with my ex," explained Ronan.

"I thought I'm just going to do it."

However, things did not go as planned for Ronan when his ex decided he did not want to rekindle their relationship, despite agreeing to go on the show.

"He had moved on big time. It was heartbreaking," Ronan explained.

"It was strange watching it back because, whenever you are in there, you forget about the cameras. So when you see the show, it is quite overwhelming because you get so much attention out of it. People are really judging you for being you.

"But I really enjoyed watching it and my family and friends loved it too, they were so proud of me, they thought I came across really well. I got a couple of nasty comments on Twitter but you just move on and ignore them."

He told the Belfast Telegraph that he had such severe body confidence issues that he would not wear swimming shorts on the beach.

Despite this, he took the bold decision to strip off for the TLC programme Undressed.

"I was really uncomfortable with my body," he added.

"The show is about two strangers meeting for the first time and have to strip each other down to their underwear. We have to do tasks like stare in each other's eyes for 30 seconds. It's a social experiment and I thought that went very well. I was very confident.

"I would never go to the beach but I could do that on TV. I felt really confident; obviously, you get the odd person putting you down but I really do feel so much more confident about myself."

Ronan's experiences have led to him being approached for a major reality television programme this summer - the name of which he can't reveal yet.

"It's weird, when I was younger I had always wanted to be an actor, to inspire people, but, after falling down this reality road, it's nice to be accepted and inspire others," he added.

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