Charlie King opens up to GuysLikeU editor Christian Guiltenane about looking for Mr Right, his soap audition and what he really thinks about his ‘ex’ Gemma Collins
Charlie King is no ordinary reality star. He doesn’t fall out of nightclubs, he doesn’t flog tacky products on Instagram, he doesn’t get into lame social media spats with fellow reality stars and still hasn’t (damn it) accidentally on purpose released a sex tape.
Instead, he is a deep thinker with great insight, a shy and unassuming 30-something who inspires his followers with wise words and sage observations and is happily living his best life as he quietly develops projects that mean something to him.
Eager to find out what makes him tick, we caught up with Charlie to talk about love, life, career and his old headline-grabbing mate Gemma ‘The GC’ Collins!
First and foremost, Charlie, you’re single. How on earth can this be possible? Just look at you….
Ha, thank you. Well, after coming out on This Morning in 2014 I embarked on a long term relationship which unfortunately came to and end last year. It was an incredible journey to go on and I fell in love HARD. It’s taken a while to adapt to single life again and the truth is I have never really dated before, so the whole thing is a little daunting and unknown to me. I love personal interaction so I am hoping the right person comes when they are meant too. I’m ready to date and open to this now.
Do you ever feel lonely?
I have some amazing friends, family and have a great job where I interact with different people from all walks of life so it’s not so much the company but I do miss that connection between me and someone really significant, I find some of the best conversations can be had whilst laying in bed with a partner. I miss that.
Have you found that there good men out there or are they only after one thing?
I do believe there are good men out there – I am one for start and I have some really decent friends with great morals and energy.
With your telly past, have you thought about dating shows?
Well, I did try Celeb Dinner Dates a while back but that didn’t work out.
You’d be perfect on Love Island. Do you think producers should open up it’s cast to LGBT love seekers?
I really do. I mean those shows are popular because they are almost like instagram on TV. I think people are always fascinated in relationships no matter the orientation. The more diverse shows are, the better it is for communities to be seen, recognised and accepted. I was actually asked if I would be interested in E! new show The Bi Life… but it wasn’t the right show for me but it was great to see yet again people who are open and more fluid in their sexuality being shown on TV.
We’ve fallen in love with Channel 4’s new Flirty Dancing – you’d be amazing on that?
Wow, now that is a show and a concept I love. What a refreshing, heartwarming kind of old school approach to dating and meeting people. It was great how it captured the emotion of the individuals. I welled up with both couples in the first episode if I’m honest. I guess I really would love that movie fantasy – the idea being you can connect without saying a word but feel the person through movement and expression of face. I would love to try something like that.
You’ve been so busy doing your PT stuff but we miss you on the box – can we see you soon?
Yes, it’s been a while since I was on the box. I was on MTVs body transformation show in 2018 which was shown in Australia and all over the world which was amazing. I am currently working on a podcast which I hope will be launched over the coming months. I am such a conversationist, I love talking and drinking tea so I thought I would combine it and hopefully chat about some interesting stuff with very cool people. People love to hear people talk ……so yes that will be great. I’m also quietly moving in to acting.
That sounds interesting…
I have always loved the idea of being an actor, but I just don’t go singing it from the roof tops. I studied it at college and have a natural ability to connect with characters. I am very in touch with my emotions and spent a big part of my life pretending to be something I wasn’t, so I guess I built that skill pretty well! I think you can get so much from acting and it would be an absolute dream of mine to play a character which people relate too. I said to myself in 2019 I want to go back to classes and come out the comfort zone. A few months ago I actually auditioned for a well known soap and made it quite a way down the line to the point I was taken on location and screen-test with the actors in the show. That actually showed me that I do have a natural talent.
That’s amazing. Charlie, you have in the past bravely spoken about the bad times you’ve endured in your life. Are you finally in a better place – you seem so wise and positive online…
What seems to connect with my audience is I am very real. I am happy, I am sad, I work, sometimes I’m tired and sometimes I’m looking good. I think if you are honest, real, relatable and humble you will always connect with people. I love insta stories for that. I mean going through a breakup I honestly used my stories as a form of therapy and connected With some amazing people on the back of it.
What advice would you give to young guys wanting to come out or feel lonely?
I always say to anyone who maybe struggling- TALK. COMMUNICATE, EXPRESS. The greatest lesson I learnt from not coming out until I was almost 30 is that so much of my pre-meditated thoughts and fears never came to fruition. If I had spoken more about how I felt I don’t think I would have felt so isolated and alone. There is something so comforting vocalising your feelings.
Your ‘ex’ Gemma Collins is supposedly causing chaos on Dancing On Ice, so the papers tell us! Is she really troublesome or is she a big pussycat?
Gemma is the ultimate reality star, larger than life character who has the nation gripped. I wouldn’t say she is troublesome and I wouldn’t say she is a pussycat. She is in her own world. She juggles a lot with her business, TV career and personal life which requires her to be strong, thick skinned and direct as well as be very entertaining and lovable.
She’s been accused of being unprofessional by Holly Willoughby for being late to rehearsal – is she?
I think that story was misconstrued. Gemma is a character, we have seen her on the shows in the past where she gets stressed out. Being late isn’t right and she will know that – I think she can push her luck a little and if she crosses the line I think she will admit it and make her wrong-doing right.
Is the GC a big act?
It’s definitely something that has become more of a thing over the years. I think its true to say she is our biggest reality TV star right now. Look, Katie P had ‘Jordan’, Jennifer Lopez ‘jlo’ and Beyonce has ‘Sasha Fierce’ – having alter ego is a great tool to have, I think it shows a level of success being able to rock an alter ego. I think its also good for her to have the GC. I think its a good way of knowing you’re in power business woman, entertainer mode and then when its switched off you can just be yourself. I think we would all love an alter ego to offer a little escape from ourselves from time to time. I mean acting would be my ideal way of becoming something else for a moment.
We have to ask… On TOWIE you were dating. But how close actually were you? Was it a real relationship?
It was a real friendship. The show was huge, we were in a bubble, I was very lost in my own head which was obvious and Gemma was a big part of me discovering who I was. She is real and honest and I think that was really important for me at the time to be put in uncomfortable situations at times. We have become such good friends and I thank the highs and lows for that. TOWIE was amazing for me. I couldn’t hide anymore
You have a good friendship with her now – how good a mate is she?
She is, I can honestly tell you through my breakup last year she phoned me every day to see if I was ok. She was amazing, she’s really looked after me. I actually think she liked the idea of me and her skate instructor Matt linking up. He is extremely lovely and the perfect partner for her.
Tell us something about her we’d be surprised by…
She has the most amazing memory. Considering how busy she is, how many people around her she remembers names, where they met, blah blah blah.
Jason Gardiner took a swipe at Gemma in the press last week saying she was lazy and mediocre and an example of all that’s wrong with modern society. He then savaged her on Sunday’s show. What did you think about that?
I don’t agree with what he said about Gemma in his interview in The Sun. She’s far from lazy – she is very business savvy and has carved out a massive retail career for herself away from the show. She should actually be applauded and be considered an inspiration to young women who want to start their own businesses. What he said on the show on Sunday was down right rude and is not what you’d expect adult men to be saying to a woman on television. He really should be seriously reprimanded for his reference to Gemma’s weight as in not expecting any lifts from her during the series. It’s basically bullying and I think that’s disgusting. I’m so proud of the way she shut him down – in that moment she was standing up for every girl or boy out there who has never had the voice to stand up to the people who have made their lives hard. “Boring, next!” Brilliant!
But she can be a bit of a diva, no?
Sure, she plays the diva but she’s committed to what she does and she does put the work in. I agree that there are a lot of reality stars who have made a career out of being mean or pretending to be stupid. When I left TOWIE I found it hard to get work because – as I was told – I was just too nice. Apparently they want people who cause drama and kick off at the drop-off at a hat! That’s not my style. I was never about drama on TOWIE and yet still had a lot of people show me a lot of interest. Watching certain reality stars who act stupid or take pleasure in hurting other people has made me doubt my ability. But things are getting better and people are taking an interest in me because I have more to say than some people form reality TV.
How is being a 30 something guy navigating through life? Is it harder than you thought?
Life is so random isn’t it. It’s so unknown and a mixture of every emotion under the sun. I realised I am a very nostalgic person and always have had fear that you may never get things again. Moving forward and as I navigate life I have learnt it really is a train ride. It moves on, it is everything from scenic to not so much at times and people get on and get off. My ultimate dream is to have a successful business in fitness, helping people whether its through my TV/media persona and journey and of course the house with husband, kids and dogs. I so nearly had it and I know it’s something that will come my way. I trust the journey now, I know my best is to come, I think I will be back on the screens or on stage in the near future and everything will align.