The singer famously lost out to Will Young in the 2002 Pop Idol final in front of 13 million people.
And he admits that has haunted him ever since. He also revealed the “hell” of being bullied at school was worse than the “torture” on the gruelling show.
But now he’s one step closer to proving he is a winner as he’s made the final of Channel 4’s gruelling reality show filmed in the jungle of Vietnam.
Gareth, 39, said: “Twenty years ago I became the nation’s biggest loser. My aim for this show was to prove to the public I am a winner!
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“I was there to prove to myself I was physically strong enough and mentally strong enough to get through it.
“It’s really strange because I had this feeling well before I even went in that the only way I was leaving this show was if I was injured.
“That mindset actually made me get to the end.”
Tonight, viewers will see Gareth and his rivals on the show – including former health secretary Matt Hancock – take on the toughest part of the course, interrogation.
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Deprived of food and sleep for nearly 24 hours, they are grilled by former special forces investigators trying to expose the cover story the celebrities have been given.
And Gareth says: “I haven’t ever felt pain like it,. When I say pain, I mean pain from every angle. When you are held in those stress positions for hours, it’s torture.”
The Bradford-born father-of-one said his stammer was his super power during the interrogation.
“Being abused constantly by other kids at school…I was strangely tapping into that and thinking, ‘Well, this isn’t as hard or as painful as things that I’ve had to go through in my life’. So just carry on.”
● Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, Channel 4, 9pm
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