Harry Redknapp revealed he nearly pulled out of I’m A Celebrity due to his wife Sandra battling sepsis.
The former football manager was crowned king of the jungle on Sunday, but said he “feared the worst” after his wife of 51 years fell ill with the killer disease.
Redknapp, 71, revealed Sandra, also 71, was taken to hospital shortly before the ITV reality television show started, nearly causing him to cancel his appearance.
He told The Sun: “She’s been ill with the sepsis and it’s knocked her for six.
“It was only five weeks ago. Sandra was in and out of hospital but she wanted to come over to Australia.
“I was worried about her coming, I didn’t know if it was going to be too much for her.”
The Redknapps’ marriage became one of the highlights of this year’s I’m A Celebrity, with camp mates and viewers hooked on details of their romance.
Redknapp, who managed Premier League clubs including Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur, often paid touching tribute to Sandra and was reduced to tears when she made a surprise visit to the jungle.
After she contracted sepsis – a life-threatening complication to an infection which can lead to multiple organ failure – Redknapp said he considered pulling out of the show.
He added: “Sepsis is such a dangerous thing, we were quite lucky.
“The day before I came in, if she said she didn’t feel well or weren’t up for it — I wouldn’t have come, I’d have scrubbed it.”
Redknapp appeared on I’m A Celebrity alongside stars including Noel Edmonds, John Barrowman and Emily Atack, who finished runner-up.
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Monday, Redknapp discussed his marriage with Sandra.
He said: “We were only just 17 when we started going out and we have never been apart.
“I don’t care what people think, I love her like mad, she’s my life.”