| 1.4°C Belfast

Roxanne Pallett: I can understand why Meghan left UK

The former soap star said she felt hounded out of the country.

Close

Roxanne Pallett was at the centre of a media storm after Celebrity Big Brother (Ian West/PA)

Roxanne Pallett was at the centre of a media storm after Celebrity Big Brother (Ian West/PA)

Roxanne Pallett was at the centre of a media storm after Celebrity Big Brother (Ian West/PA)

Roxanne Pallett has said she felt “hounded, ridiculed and vilified” in the UK after the Celebrity Big Brother “punchgate” controversy and added she can “understand” why the Duchess of Sussex wanted to leave the country.

The former Emmerdale actress was at the centre of a firestorm during her time on the reality show in 2018 after she alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas.

Pallett was heavily criticised for accusing soap star Thomas of punching her, a claim she later said was “massively wrong”.

Ryan Thomas
Ryan Thomas went on to win Celebrity Big Brother (Yui Mok/PA)

The actress, who went travelling across America last year, told Closer magazine: “I didn’t feel welcome in England. I was hounded, ridiculed and vilified for over a year.

“I felt like the country was against me. For a long time, I felt exiled and was being told to disappear by online bullies.”

She added she can identify with Meghan and her husband the Duke of Sussex, who have stepped back from their roles in the royal family and will spend much of their time in North America.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are moving away from royal life (Aaron Chown/PA)

She said: “In a way, I can understand why Meghan left. I’m so happy she’s had the inner strength to say, ‘I’m not happy here, let’s make a change.’

“I’d encourage anyone who is going through a tough time to have faith that things can turn around as they have for me.”

Pallett, who married firefighter and wrestler Jason Carrion in January after a nine-month relationship, said she is now much happier.

She said: “Three years ago, I was making terrible decisions – but who hasn’t screwed up? I’m proof that you can make a mistake, break, fall from grace, then get yourself back up.

“It all fell through for me and I never thought I’d smile again or leave my house without my hood up. It’s taken a long time, and a lot of strength, but I’ve rebooted my life and I think so much more clearly.

“I’ve spent the last year fundraising for Cancer Research and helping with mental health campaigns, and that’s what I’m continuing to focus my time on. I think taking a step away from showbiz has been the biggest saving grace for me as it’s brought better people into my life and given me a healthier perspective on what’s important.”

She added that she is now emotionally equipped to deal with online trolls, saying: “My management and close friends screen most of the abusive messages, but every now and again I have to look for legal reasons.

“I’ve had messages urging me to die and threatening to hurt my loved ones. Before, that would have floored me, but now I’m bulletproof. I used to feel sick or cry but now I feel sorry for those people who still target me. They must be struggling to carry that much hostility.”

She added she no longer speaks to any of her former co-stars and no longer cares about fame, saying: “I didn’t like who I was when I was in showbiz. For 10 years I was on a treadmill of validation and vanity.

“I had a lot of disposable friendships. After CBB, I was ghosted and blocked by people who I’d had dinner with two weeks earlier. When you’re winning at life, you’re surrounded by everyone, but when you’re not, they disappear.

“The friends I’ve made in America don’t care about my past or the headlines, they like me for who I am today.”

The full interview is in Closer, on sale now.

PA