He quit the Dancing on Ice judging panel in August 2019.
And now Jason Gardiner, 49, has revealed that he lived in a tent for three months while becoming an eco-warrior amid a mental health struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic after ditching the ‘toxic’ TV show.
The former television personality – who now lives in Aldeia do Meco, Portugal – explained that he lived in the tent while making eco houses for refugees after making a dramatic career change.
Tent life! Jason Gardiner, 49, has revealed that he lived in a tent for three months while becoming an eco-warrior amid a mental health struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic
Jason told The Mirror: ‘My tenure on Dancing On Ice was always marred with controversy and lots of issues but the problem is, I didn’t realise how toxic it was until I left. It took me a while to decompress from it, I’ll be honest.’
The former TV judge explained that without any stress, he’s now ‘living an amazing experience right here’ in Portugal as he practices yoga and go for walks while working as an eco designer.
Jason also revealed that being excluded from government financial support when the pandemic hit left him struggling.
After he’d spent four years working on his solo show, it premiered in London to rave reviews but can quickly cancelled due to Covid-19.
Scavenger: The former TV personality – who now lives in Aldeia do Meco, Portugal – explained that he lived in the tent while making eco houses for refugees after his dramatic career change
Revelling in it! In February, Jason joked that he’d become a ‘scavenger skip wh**e’
He said: ‘I was going through it in the first lockdown and really struggled with my mental health.’
With no income and no idea when the world of entertainment would reopen, a combination of financial insecurity and sitting around doing nothing all day took its toll.
Jason explained: ‘That really forced me to evaluate lots of things where I’d been very wasteful.’
He added: ‘I have been working since I was 16 so it was a real hard thing for me to accept I had to be at home doing nothing.’
Former toxic life: ‘My tenure on Dancing On Ice was always marred with controversy and lots of issues but the problem is, I didn’t realise how toxic it was’ said Jason (Pictured in January 2019)
Thankfully, a kind neighbour named Jennifer checked in on Jason’s well-being and offered him work on her allotment and helped him to get ‘the excitement’ back into his life.
Soon he found himself waking up at 6am and working outdoors for 14 or 15 hours per day, seven days per week – something which helped him to thrive.
Jason explained that after his passion for living off the land was sparked, he pursue a career as a ‘Nomadic Permaculture Designer’ and lived in a tent for three months while building eco houses for refugees.
New direction: Jason explained that after his passion for living off the land was sparked, he pursue a career as a ‘Nomadic Permaculture Designer’ and lived in a tent for three months
Jason previously told The Sun: ‘I was very lucky during lockdown. A neighbour of mine kindly offered that I get to use her allotment.
‘It changed my life. It was really quite profound and a beautiful experience. It put me on a different trajectory.
‘We are moving towards being self-sufficient whether we like it or not. Being a grower of food and being sustainable is the future.’
Back in 2019 Jason took to social media to confirm he would not be returning for the 2020 series of Dancing On Ice.
The cutthroat judge said: ‘I know there has been a lot of speculation about me and the upcoming series of Dancing on Ice. I wanted to set the record straight, I’ve been an original judge since 2006.’
‘I’ve done every series except one, when I was replaced by my good friend and dance sister Louis Spence in 2012.’
Mean: After his exit from DOI, Jason apologised for comparing Gemma Collins to a refrigerator, and insisted he didn’t realise his remark had caused such a backlash
Jason received backlash for his cruel comments towards TOWIE star Gemma, who competed in the show in 2019. It sparked rumours ITV were lining up a new judge to replace him.
He later apologised for comparing her to a refrigerator, and insisted he didn’t realise his remark had caused such a backlash.
He said: ‘Ignorance is bliss, I don’t know about this. I don’t engage on the social media platforms like that.
‘It’s something that I find gets magnified and distorted and people jump on a bandwagon. You can’t really buy in to it.’
Replaced: John Barrowman, 54, replaced Jason as a judge(pictured above in March 2019)
His replacement on Dancing On Ice, John Barrowman, 54, was himself axed from the judging panel on Monday – five months after he apologised for exposing himself on the set of other shows in historic incidents.
The entertainer, who joined DOI last year and appeared in two seasons, previously admitted to ‘tomfoolery’ on the sets of Doctor Who, where he began playing Captain Jack Harkness in 2005 and spin-off series Torchwood a year later.
A source told The Sun: ‘This will be devastating for him. Clearly ITV feel it’s not a good look to have someone like John centre-stage on a family-friendly show.’
An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline John will not return to the dancing show but will be seen on the channel again when he returns to host All Star Musicals.
Axe: On Monday, ITV confirmed that John has been axed from Dancing On Ice – five months after he apologised for exposing himself on the set of other shows in historic incidents (pictured in January 2021)
Representatives for the channel said: ‘We thank John Barrowman for two brilliant years on the Dancing on Ice panel and are pleased to be working with him again as host of the forthcoming All Star Musicals specials.’
John’s team said: ‘John is thrilled to be returning to work for ITV as host on the new All Star Musicals,’ but declined to comment on his departure from the skating show.
No charges were brought against the media personality after allegations about him exposing himself on the set of Doctor Who were revealed in May.
John said his behaviour on set was to ‘defuse awkwardness’ whenever he was filming a sex scene in Torchwood but later conceded the act was ‘juvenile’.
Past: The entertainer previously admitted to ‘tomfoolery’ on the sets of Doctor Who and Torchwood where he played Captain Jack Harkness (pictured in 2020)