Inside Jacqueline Jossa and Kate Garraway’s friendship amid Derek’s Covid battle

They spent weeks together in the Australian outback, and Jacqueline Jossa and Kate Garraway built a bond that lasted long after the I'm A Celeb cameras stopped rolling.

And for Queen of the Jungle Jac, it has been heartbreaking to see her friend coping with husband Derek Draper's horrifying health problems this year.

"It's just so horrible," she says. "Kate is the loveliest human being you will ever meet. No-one deserves that."

The 28-year-old first met the couple in December 2019 and just three months later, Derek developed coronavirus.

After being put into a coma, spending months in intensive care and more than a year in hospital, Derek has just returned home.

Jacqueline adds: "[Kate] was incredible and I find her really inspiring because she just really kept on going.

"I truly believe her positive vibes and positive thinking helped their situation. I don't know how she held it together."

Lockdown meant seeing her campmates was impossible but Jacqueline reached out to
Kate to show her support as she tried to carry on life for her two children Darcey and Billy.

She adds: "She's super busy and I'm just hoping life resumes and we can catch up."

And the love Kate has for her husband was clear to Jacqueline from their time in Australia.

She explains: "I did meet Derek and their kids and they are an absolutely lovely family.

"All Kate did was talk about Derek. She would cry every time that she spoke about him, she just loved him so much."

And for Jacqueline – who found fame as Lauren Branning in EastEnders – her children and family are also the most precious thing in her life.

Jacqueline and former Towie star Dan Osborne have two children, Ella and Mia, and Dan also has a son, called Teddy, from a previous relationship.

But Jacqueline is all too aware that not everyone is as lucky and she is fronting the 2020 National Lottery Awards.

She says: "They celebrate people and projects that are in definite need of celebrating. Around £30million a week is raised for good causes. I really hope there are thousands of people nominating because it's been a really terrible year that's been hard for everybody."

Two projects, in particular, have stood out to her – the Baby Loss Retreat and the Lullaby Trust – after Jacqueline's mum Sarah and dad John went through the trauma of losing a baby twice.

She adds: "Before I was born my mum had two little boys and they both sadly passed away super young.

"My mum has always been helped by charities like this and they help so many people that are in the same position."

But Jacqueline enjoyed lockdown because it gave her plenty of time with the family.

She adds: "I've loved it and I feel guilty because I know a lot of people have found it tough. But we wouldn't have got the time we had together."

During lockdown Jacqueline also decided to lose some weight, adding: "You get to a point where you've got to do something.

"Now, I'm eating more than I was before. I'm just eating the right things. I've lost a stone. I just know it makes a difference to my mental health.

"If changing how you look is your target, you're never going to reach it because there's always going to be something."

And Jacqueline is well aware there's more than enough hate out there after suffering horrendous social media trolling.

She adds: "Sometimes I do let things get to me – especially when it's about my kids. I think they try to offend me but it's like: ‘Honey, I still love my child – what's your point?'"

After a busy year, it was a shock to the system when Mia started nursery last week and Jacqueline found herself living in a ­surprisingly quiet house.

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She says: "It was just crazy and she didn't even look back. I wanted a little bit of something but she just went: ‘Bye Mummy, I love you so much,' and off she goes in.

"I just watched her through the window for a little while.

"But she was more than ready to go and loved it so much."

  • Dan Osborne
  • Jacqueline Jossa
  • Kate Garraway
  • Queen
  • Eastenders
  • Towie
  • National Lottery
  • Family

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