Joe Swash devastating illness led to bankruptcy and EastEnders axe
Joe Swash is now best known for his work as a TV presenter and as a family man.
He and Stacey Solomon are the ultimate couple goals with their loving relationship and happy home with her two sons, Leighton and Zachary, his son, Harry, and their baby, Rex.
And now Joe has legions of new fans thanks to his cheeky chappie performances on Dancing On Ice, which have earned him a place in the final.
But before he carved out a career as a successful TV presenter, Joe was best known for his role as Mickey Miller in EastEnders.
Between 2003 and 2008 Joe played the loveable rogue and was stunned when he was axed by BBC bosses, who said they'd "run out of steam" for his character.
But almost as soon as he was cast in the hit soap, Joe's partying started to spiral out of control.
At just 21, Joe admits he had to be told to calm down by EastEnders' chiefs because he was "lad about town".
He even earned himself the nickname Swashbuckler.
But then in 2005 Joe was left fighting for his life when he was struck down with a devastating brain bug.
Unable to talk or stand without being sick, Joe, 37, was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered he had meningitis and encephalitis, swelling of the brain.
For two weeks he was treated in intensive care and his family were told to prepare for the worst.
Finally, after six weeks Joe was allowed home but it was a long road to recovery for the young star.
He had to take three months of unpaid leave from EastEnders while he underwent gruelling physio to help him learn to talk and move again.
And Joe was convinced it was his illness that ultimately led to him losing his role.
He told The Sun: "My illness had a massive impact on the job. When I came back I couldn’t find my feet.
"New producers came in and brought in new actors and I got lost down the pecking order."
Three years later Joe was given the devastating news that he was being axed.
And more heartache was to come for the actor.
The following year, months after his I'm A celeb victory, he was forced to declare himself bankrupt.
He explained: "I fell behind on tax and bills and buried my head in the sand, which was the worst thing to do. I should have faced up to it."
Devastatingly, Joe was bankrupt again four years later.
He added: "The second time it happened when I was on TV and I felt embarrassed and wondered how I managed to get myself into that situation. But it can happen to anybody."
Joe admits he was spending money without thinking about the consequences – a lesson he has learned now.
He said: "I was chucking it away on stuff I didn't need. I went out every night and had a house with a mortgage.
"When you are young you just don't think it is ever going to end. I thought I was going to be on EastEnders for years and years."
It' a far cry from the amily life Joe and Stacey have now created with their children.
The couple regularly share the adorable details of their home life on social media and in their TV appearances.
- Dancing On Ice will be on ITV at 6pm tonight.
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