I'm A Celebrity star Kendra on her unexpected friendship with TOWIE's Gemma

Kendra Wilkinson first catapulted on to our screens in 2006 as the most playful of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends on E!’s The Girls Of The Playboy Mansion.

Since then, life’s been a roller coaster for the outspoken reality star. She married American footballer Hank Baskett in 2009 and gave birth to their son, also named Hank, that December. A daughter named Alijah arrived in May 2014, but within a month it emerged Hank, 32, had cheated on Kendra, 29, with a transgender model while she was pregnant.

Kendra’s faced her problems head on and is working through her marriage issues, proving to the world she can’t be beaten – even appearing on the toughest reality show I’m A Celebrity! We chat to Kendra about marriage, her new mate Gemma Collins, shedding the baby weight and that Playboy image…

How are things going with Hank at the moment?
Er… it’s going. We’re heading in the right direction. It’s a beautiful thing. I feel like we’re off to a better place than we’ve been before.

Do you feel everything that’s happened has brought you closer together?

We will be that couple people can look up to, showing you can get through something so tragic and have a better life together.

Will you be renewing your wedding vows?

I don’t know. That’s all so cheesy. First we have to get back to being friends again because that’s what we lost. We lost our communication. If I’d been a little more open to him as a friend, I think he could’ve been a little more open with me. We have to work together and apart for this marriage to work, but I have to do a lot on my own. I know Hank loves and cherishes me, but I’m
in a place right now where I’m trying to discover the new me. Coming out of the drama, I feel like I need to find who I am.

Have you learnt anything about yourself throughout all of this?

That I’m fearless – I entered the jungle and I also reunited with my dad after 20 years. What
I wanted to do during that time was really face some fears. I also had some stupid ideas. I was like: ‘I wanna go jump off a 10m diving board!’

Will all this help to make you a better mum?
Yeah, of course it’s about me being a better mom. But this will make Hank a better father, too. He was Mr Perfect and now he’s not. He’s had to learn to wake up, look in the mirror and say: ‘I’m not perfect any more.’ We have to realise we have kids growing up and they could face some hard times in their lives.

We’ve seen you hanging out with TOWIE’s Gemma Collins…
She’s the one person who’s inspired me since being in the UK. I find her so inspirational. She’s so sexy and knows how to reach her dreams. She’s a sweet person who’s so driven and that’s exactly the type of person I need in my life right now. She’s straight-talking and honest. She’s my type of girl.

Has she given you any advice?
Yeah, a lot. We had a great, great, great talk. We both live in front of the cameras. We can relate
to each other.

You’re an inspiration, too. Your body’s amazing!

Thank you. I’ve done everything I could and more to get my body back. I still have a little bit of toning up on my belly to go, but other than that I feel really good.

What’s your secret?
I work out every day – sometimes twice. I have to. I’ve been on the Atkins diet and I eat clean, light foods that get me through my day and give me energy. I love hiking and yoga.

You look tiny!
I’ve told myself not to go any further. I know my limits, but stress melts the weight off me sometimes and I can’t help it. I hate being too skinny. Sometimes I look at myself and think: ‘Shit, I’ve gotta eat a box of pizza tonight.’ So I do! My face looks all sucked in when I’m too skinny. I like to look fit.

You turn 30 in June. How are you feeling about that?
I recently decided I’ll never touch my face. I want to age naturally. I’m interested in knowing
myself in the next few years.

Are you your own worst critic?
Yes! I’ve had a struggle with the Playboy image and hate only being known for that. Sure, it was a big thing, but I’m different now and this is my time to show it. I have a problem dressing up because I don’t want people to think: ‘There’s that Playboy girl in that hot dress.’ That’s why I’m always photographed in jogging bottoms. I always feel I’m trying to run away from that image.

Why do you want to get away from the Playboy image?
It was never even me. I just lived in the mansion. I loved Hef and I dated him, but I’m not that type. I’m more than just that. I love Playboy, but now it’s time people see me as a real mom and wife who lives in celebrity la-la land, but deals with all the drama.

* Kendra On Top starts on ITVBe at 10pm on 23 March