There’s no question that the nation is fascinated with Gemma Collins - after a string of outrageous performances on a number of different reality shows, from The Only Way Is Essex to Dancing on Ice most recently, her reputation as a diva has soared.
But who created this larger-than-life persona? Enter Alan Collins – Gemma’s dad.
Alan, 71, made sure Gemma was a tough cookie from a young age. He invested in self-defence classes for her when she was repeatedly bullied and even robbed at school. ‘He wanted to make sure I could look after myself,’ Gemma says.
The star, 38, has made a fortune from her fame and is now worth £2.7 million. But she has to be careful with what she spends, as her dad is in charge of her finances.
“My dad controls all my money. Seriously, I even have to ask him if I want to upgrade my car,” she says.
Although he generally stays out of the limelight, Alan has publicly defended some of the more difficult parts of his daughter’s career.
After Gemma’s controversial stint in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in 2014 – when she lasted just three days – it was revealed that she was secretly struggling after a ‘serious domestic incident’ with her boyfriend at the time, Alex Moss.
Her worried father, who guessed Gemma would be the first out, said at the time, “Her decision to quit the jungle didn’t come as a shock. I could see the way Gemma was from the moment I saw her on screen. As a parent, I knew.”
And Alan, it seems, does not hold back when it comes to his daughter’s choice of men – and her now boyfriend, James ‘Arg’ Argent, is no exception. Gemma first started dating Arg back in 2012, and their relationship has been a roller-coaster ride.
While filming her reality show Diva Espana last year, Gemma turned to her dad for some advice.
But his response was blunt, as he replied, “For my daughter, I want somebody who’s top dollar. And at the moment he isn’t top dollar and he would admit that as well.” Ouch.
While his no-nonsense nature is sure to be the reason behind some of Gemma’s diva-like tantrums, there’s no doubting that Papa Collins is also the positive and stable influence that she needs, with Gemma previously admitting, “I know he has my best interests at heart.”
We can be sure this is the one man she can count on to stay in her life, for better or worse.