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17th Jun 2022

‘I promised Gemma Collins my sperm, but now I want to be a gay, single dad’

April Curtin

Charlie King on his mental health battle and his fight to be a father

TOWIE star Charlie King really wants to be a dad.

He’s come pretty close since he rose to fame in 2012 on The Only Way Is Essex, but now he’s doing it on his own – his own way.

During his first gay relationship his partner had a baby by surrogacy, but the pair broke up, and in 2017 he revealed he would consider becoming a sperm donor for former castmate, Gemma Collins. King dated Collins on the show, albeit briefly, before coming out on live TV two years later.

Now, the 37-year-old wants to adopt as a single, gay man.

Gemma was searching for a sperm donor at one point [Credit: @gemmacollins]
Being a sperm donor for Collins, was a bit “tongue and cheek”, King told Joe, and ultimately the GC got back together with boyfriend Rami Hawash.

“We’d always say, ‘Well look, if by a certain age we’re still not where we want to be then we might have to go down this route’,” King recalled. “It was never sort of official conversations or anything, it was more two friends probably just trying to support each other. I don’t know what the story would’ve been if our friendship had stayed as tight as it was but I trust that it’s gone the way it’s meant to.”

The desire to be a dad germinated as King’s first gay relationship blossomed. His partner, “always said that he wanted to be a dad” so he “went on that journey with him”.

“And that’s where the seed was planted,” King recalled, “I understood this need for a gay guy wanting to have a child or be a dad or have a different purpose in his life, and I resonated with that so much.”

But soon after the baby was born the pair split.

“That in itself was challenging for me because I’d almost had like a phantom pregnancy within myself because I was equipping myself to become a dad with him,” King said of the heartbreaking time. “I was going to be his co-parent. And then for him to have a baby and not be part of that moving forward… honestly it broke my heart.” 

It also hit him hard mentally and King admits he made some “wrong decisions”, focussing on the things he could, but didn’t need to, change.

“I started turning to things like my body image and becoming very obsessive about that,” King recalled of his decision to turn to plastic surgery.

A nose job went wrong and “floored” his career he explained to MPs last month as he called for better mental health support for people who undergo cosmetic procedures.

“I’ve had to move back and live with my mum because I couldn’t earn money, I was depressed, I’m still not myself,” King admitted.

But things are on the up again: “It has highlighted to me that I’ve been quite lost and the reason why I’m quite lost is because my life has lacked a purpose.”

The breakup and the botched surgery has led to a lot of reflection, with King forced to sift through the ashes of the disappointments to work out what really made him happy.  And, on reflection, that was the prospect of becoming a parent.

“We learn from it and we grow,” King told Joe. “I’ve had to go back to the drawing board, and the time when I was really happy was when I had this prospect of becoming a dad.”


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A post shared by CHARLIE KING (@charlie_king85)

Now, with the help of the IAC Centre for Adoption, a charity which helps finds home for vulnerable children from all over the world, King’s dream of becoming a dad is edging close to becoming true.

And he’s learned his prospects aren’t that bad – 1 in 6 adoptions are LGBTQI parents, and 11 per cent of children were adopted by single parents last year.

King, who since leaving reality TV has branded out into fitness and fashion, launching his own namesake clothing brand, hopes to become a parent before he turns 40.

“I do want to make sure that if I’m bringing a child into my family that it’s the right stable environment for them and obviously you will have to go through a whole process and I want to make sure that I’m fully prepared for that.

“I’ve got so much love to give,” he added.

IAC Centre for Adoption is an international adoption charity that works with over 100 new families each year to help them through the adoption process. You can find out more information here.

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