The dark side of Jackass

TEN men took MTV by storm in 2000 with three simple words: “Welcome to Jackass”.

The series showcased wild stunts in a world before iPhones, social media and YouTube, airing for two years and eventually morphing into nine films and four spin-offs. But once the cameras stopped rolling, several of the show’s stars were left severely injured and suffering from substance abuse problems — and truly discovered just how dark fame can be.

Johnny Knoxville, born Philip John Clapp Jr., conceptualised Jackass in 1998 when he pitched a story to several publications in which the then-27-year-old would test several different self-defence tactics on himself.

Jeff Tremaine, then a 32-year-old Big Brother magazine editor, greenlit Knoxville’s idea and asked him to film the process. (Knoxville, now 46, declined to be interviewed for this piece, and Tremaine, now 51, couldn’t be reached.)

A year later, a 19-year-old Bam Margera released Landspeed: CKY with Brandon DiCamillo. In the movie, Margera performed stunts in his hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania, alongside the CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) crew, which included Ryan Dunn, Rake Yohn and Chris Raab. Landspeed began gaining traction in their skateboarding community, and in 2000, they released a second film, CKY2K.

“That was the video that put us on the map,” Raab told the New York Post’s Page Six of CKY2K.

“That’s what led to the connection with Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze with Bam, myself, Rake Yohn, Brandon and Ryan. So when we got connected with them, we went out [to California] to film a couple of things with a few guys with the Big Brother skateboarding magazine.”

“Jeff Tremaine was the mastermind who put everyone together. He got us together, basically got some footage and he took that footage to MTV and to Comedy Central — and really Spike Jonze was our guy … he had the connects at MTV and Comedy Central to bring us there with the footage from the CKY video and the Big Brother skateboard video. That’s what became Jackass.”

MTV picked up the show, and Ehren “Danger Ehren” McGhehey, Stephen “Steve-O” Glover, Jason “Wee Man” Acuña and Preston Lacy were added to the cast. Tremaine became the director and they found themselves going full speed ahead.

“It was years in the making, but then it was an overnight success,” Raab said. “It was more or less a lifestyle we lived for a bunch of years prior and we did it just to do it and make each other laugh. I don’t think any one of us could say that was a path for a job or career … it was a surprise that it became as successful as it did.”

Margera’s mother, April, saw how the show’s seemingly instant success changed the dynamic for her son and his friends.

“When that show came to town, it pushed everything we already knew about CKY and filming in the house to a whole new level,” April said. “We just took it one day at a time. Same thing with Viva La Bam [a future spin-off focusing on Bam and their family]. It just seemed to keep getting bigger and bigger.”

The instant fame propelled the Jackass crew to push the envelope even further, trying out more shocking stunts as the show progressed.

“We were all kind of competing for that time [on TV],” McGhehey said. “There were some things that I obviously didn’t want to do — like I don’t know any human being that would want to be chased by bulls or be blindfolded — that sucks — or drink [their] own pee. Those things are what people remember and it makes people laugh and that was the whole point of it. And I’ve had many, many injuries from it — 25 surgeries including nine knee surgeries and three broken backs.”

“The pain is real [from the surgeries],” he added. “That’s the other thing, with the way that we live as humans now with sports and stuff we do, it’s almost like people live like it’s a video game. I’m here to tell you it’s not. You only get one body. Take care of it.”

But with injuries came exposure to painkillers and soon, addiction.

“If you got hurt, you were like, ‘Oh, I can just take a pill for that,’” Raab said. “And you justify it’s a painkiller, I’m in pain. I broke my ankle. I need this. And then you justify it to yourself if you broke your arm, you’d need [another painkiller] too. And before you know it, you’re just so caught up in it. Then what happens is people are like, ‘Raab, you have a drinking problem, you’re doing too many drugs’ and you’re like, ‘I’m not as bad as this person and this person’ and you’re surrounded by a bunch of drug addicts and alcoholics and you’re just pointing the fingers at each other.”

Eventually, Raab realised that playing the role of his “maniac” Jackass persona, “Raab Himself,” made his addictions obvious.

“I did a lot of cocaine and I drank my ass off pretty much seven days a week. [Jackass] was a perfect time for my addiction to manifest … it’s an obsessive lifestyle. I didn’t realise how much I became a slave to drugs and alcohol,” he said.

Raab realised that he would have to leave the Jackass lifestyle behind if he wanted to survive.

“I had to pull out of Jackass stuff. I didn’t do the second and third movie. I got paranoid about friends … and I got darker into drugs and drinking and wanting to be alone. I’d end up alone in my condo just doing drugs and drinking and just not wanting to be around anybody.”

His drug and alcohol use eventually led him to contemplate suicide.

Raab, now 37, is eight-and-a-half years sober, and admits he had a hard time “getting back into regular life” after Jackass began to fade.

“I had to get a job — I didn’t get rich like some of the guys, but I got decent money as a young kid but I blew it like an idiot. [We’d say] ‘Let’s go to the airport and go to an island!’

“I went and got a job at a restaurant [as a waiter] and that was embarrassing for me because people would be like, ‘Raab, what the f**k are you doing here?’ This young kid was like 16 and said, ‘I thought the Jackass guys were dumb, but now I know they’re really dumb’ — and like dude, I’ll tell you what, if you ever thought you wanted to kill yourself — there’s a kid saying that s**t and I want to punch him in the face but I can’t and I just have to take this and I have to hear it.”

Bam, now 38, struggled with the spotlight as well, and addressed his alcoholism on reality TV in 2016 during an episode of VH1’s Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn.

“My first drink, I was 21 and I never drank before that,” he said on the show. “When I really started drinking, I was probably 24, 25 … It just slowly became waking up and sipping on a drink as soon as I got up … one is too many but a thousand is never enough.”

April recalled how during a drunken episode, Bam told her he “wanted to die” because he “hated” his life. In January, the skateboarder was arrested for DUI. He is currently undergoing treatment at an LA-based rehab facility.

“I haven’t spoken to Bam [since his arrest],” McGhehey said. “I was actually in LA that night. I was doing a Doors music video that day and I was super-low-key and just wanted to get in and out, but I found out the next day that [the Jackass guys] all hung out. I’m thinking and praying for him because whether it’s an addiction or an addiction of living a certain lifestyle, it’s real.”

Raab hasn’t “talked directly” to Bam since he checked into rehab but remains in touch with his brother, Jess.

“He’s got a long road to recovery and I hope that things happen. I check in, of course. I care for him. [Addiction] destroys people and it’s a shame because he was a young guy in shape and a great skateboarder and drugs robbed him of that. It did the same thing to me and it’s hard to watch one of your best friends getting destroyed by it. He has to get sober and take this seriously or he’ll be dead.”

Bam welcomed a baby boy, Phoenix Wolf, with his wife, Nicole Boyd, in December.

“I think for anybody who has any issues with substance abuse or alcohol, it affects an entire family, and of course we’re no exception for that,” April told us.

“It’s a family dynamic that you have to try to work through. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s in epidemic proportions these days. Many families are going through it — not knowing what to do, when to help. There’s hope maybe it’ll fix itself. It ends badly sometimes. Every family doesn’t want it to happen to them.”

Bam’s DUI arrest hits close to home for many of the Jackass stars. Ryan Dunn, a fixture on the show, was killed in 2011 when he crashed his Porsche in a drunken-driving accident. Dunn had been drinking at a local bar hours before the accident, and his blood-alcohol content was later determined to be 0.196 — more than twice the legal limit to drive. His passenger, Zachary Hartwell, also was killed.

“We were friends since we were 12 years old,” Raab said. “He was like my brother. He was one of my best friends. It completely destroyed me when he died.”

“[Ryan’s death] affected us profoundly,” April said. “He was like a member of our family. When he moved here in the ninth grade from Ohio, he immediately ended up in our house and really felt like — I know his mother said — he finally found a place where he needed to be. He found a home with the boys and who they were filming with. He found something purposeful in his life … it’s still hard to believe he’s gone. He was the sweetest man ever.”

“It affected me pretty hard,” Acuña said. “I think of him every day. And I get pissed at people who I know are drinking and about to drive — like hell no. If Ryan could take that day back, I think he would.”

Other cast members found themselves in trouble with the law as well.

In 2008, Knoxville was arrested after security at LAX found a grenade in his carry-on luggage. He was detained and cited for carrying a prohibited item into the airport but was released when officials concluded it was only a prop that his assistant had packed in his bag for him.

Steve-O pleaded guilty to cocaine possession in 2008 and sought help at a treatment centre in lieu of jail time, and spent time in and out of rehab for years. He was arrested in Canada in 2011 after he was accused of assault with a weapon and officers found an arrest warrant from eight years prior. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 36 months of probation in 2015 after he climbed a construction crane in Los Angeles to protest against SeaWorld.

Lacy was arrested in 2010 for marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia and was charged with two misdemeanours.

Now that their heyday is over, much of the cast is focusing on life away from the limelight.

“I’ve always redone furniture and I’ve done hair for a long time,” April said. “I have a business not far from my home — Rosehip Barn. It’s a periodic furniture barn … it’s great for me to keep doing furniture even though I’m in my 60s. It’s harder to move things around but it’s fun for me.”

Acuña is now a partner in Chronic Tacos, which is preparing to go international.

McGhehey is working as an on-tour photographer with Eagles of Death Metal & Queens of the Stone Age. He’s also developing a project with the 18 years’ worth of behind-the-scenes photos he has of his Jackass days.

Raab is working behind the scenes on different films. He started a non-profit with his wife to promote community outreach in Haiti after working on a documentary in the country.

“I think there’s always mini-reunions that we have but that’s about it,” Acuña said, noting that another movie is “definitely not happening.”

But McGhehey insists that there’s still more to come for fans.

“As long as we’re kicking, there’ll be some balls!”

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and is republished with permission.

Dawson’s star: ‘The week we met’

JAMES Van Der Beek has posted a throwback picture of him with his Dawson Creek co-stars to mark twenty years since the show first hit our screens.

Branding them ‘Squad ‘97’ James posted the picture to Instagram, with a long caption, saying: “I’d known these people all of 7 days when this pic was taken. 20 years ago this week.”

“The little pilot we shot in that small town for that fledgling network aired, changed our lives and launched our careers.”

The Sun reports He also credited the crew and residents of Wilmington, North Carolina where the show was filmed, who “raised us and kept us sane.”

Despite the show being a huge success, 40-year-old James admitted he had hardly watched any of the drama’s six seasons.

He said: “It’s true that I haven’t seen most episodes (it became healthier at a certain point to just commit 100% on the day and let it go completely) but the beauty of this arrangement is that my impression of the show now is what you’ve all reflected back to me over the years … and it’s been lovely to witness.

“So thank you to anyone who’s ever expressed appreciation for the work we did.

“It makes me feel proud to be associated with these three fine people (and the rest of the cast) and proud to have been a part of #DawsonsCreek.

“This one will always have a special place in my heart.”

The show aired from January 1998 until May 2003, and amassed a huge following.

The show’s lead James — who played Dawson — is now a father-of-four who has gone on to have more than 30 TV and film credits to his name.

Katie Holmes, who dated co-star Joshua Jackson off-screen for the first two series of the show, is a leading Hollywood actress.

Michelle Williams has received four Oscar nominations, and Joshua Jackson’s career received a huge boost thanks his part in the Golden Globe winning drama, The Affair.

Speaking in 2016, Katie Holmes ruled out a revamp of the show, saying: “When I look back at the show, it had a certain charm.

“It was before the internet really took over, it was before iPhones, it was before this kind of new form of communication and it had this certain feeling that was of the 90s

“I don’t think that in today’s world, you could achieve that same kind of feeling.”

The show also launched the career of Busy Philipps and cemented her friendship with co-star Michelle Williams.

Williams has since called best friend Busy the “love of her life”.

She is also still close to Van Der Beek, however none of the cast seem to talk to Holmes anymore.

Philipps said that Holmes stopped talking to the cast when she started dating Tom Cruise.

“I just remember when (she started dating Cruise) I was like: ‘Are you on a plane in San Francisco with Tom Cruise? What’s happening?’”

“I left her several voicemail messages,” she said. “And then I saw her three years later and she had a kid.”

Philipps shared an emotional picture with Williams earlier this week, marking the ten-year anniversary of the death of Williams’ former boyfriend and Hollywood actor Heath Ledger.

The pair had daughter Matilda, now aged 12, together, before he was discovered dead in his home from an accidental overdose.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission

‘Best threesome I ever had’

ISLA Fisher may be a big Hollywood name now but she clearly has some fond memories of her time on Home and Away.

Co-star Kate Ritchie posted a bunch of throwback shots to commemorate 30 years since the show first aired.

In one of those posted she showed herself, Fisher and Tempany Deckert who played Sally, Shannon and Selina for a period.

She captioned the picture “the best days”.

Fisher was quick to comment, writing “Best threesome I ever had.”

Fisher played Shannon Reed on the show from 1994 until 1997 and was particularly close to both Ritchie and Deckert.

However, she has been critical of the show at times since leaving.

“Home and Away taught me how to look good in a bikini,” she told London newspaper The Observer. “And how to deliver bad dialogue convincingly — a skill that really helped in the early days of my career.”

“I wouldn’t say that I had the greatest experience on Home And Away,” she told Stylist magazine. “I learnt a lot, but I was very exhausted because the hours that they work you are very, very long and you’re away from your family and you’re expected, after shooting incredibly long days, to work at the weekend doing photoshoots for magazines. My abiding memory is just being exhausted and sleeping whenever I could. Learn your lines, shoot all day, go to sleep.

Fisher said the show was “an excellent training ground and I’m still in touch with Tempany Deckert who played Selina and Kate Ritchie who played Sally.”

SUMMER BAY’S 15 BIGGEST BREAKOUT STARS

Melissa George (who played Angel Parrish also copped criticism for attacking her days on Home and Away.

“I don’t need credibility from my country any more, I just need them all to be quiet,” she said. “If they have nothing intelligent to say, please don’t speak to me any more. I’d rather be having a croissant and an espresso in Paris or walking my french bulldog in New York City.”

Fisher however seems more nostalgic these days after her time on the show.

She is not the only huge star to use Home and Away as a springboard to bigger things.

The show has launched such stars as Chris Hemsworth, Julian McMahon, Ryan Kwanten, Isabel Lucas and Brenton Thwaites.

Ritchie also posted images with Heath Ledger, who played bad boy Scott Irwin.

She also shared an older shot with Ben Mendelsohn and Alex Papps.

Summer Bay’s 15 biggest breakout stars

THEY’RE some of Hollywood’s biggest names, but a bevy of Tinseltown’s A-list stars had humble beginnings right here on the shores of Summer Bay.

From Heath Ledger to Isla Fisher and an array of other big screen heavyweights, these are the Aussie actors who started their careers on Home and Away and went on to make it to the big time. On a scale of Hollywood success, here’s how they fare …

1. Chris Hemsworth

190 episodes 2004-2007

You may know him as Thor, but for four hot years Chris steamed up the screen on Home and Away as hearthrob Kim Hyde. Now a Hollywood superhero, Hemsworth has appeared in blockbusters such as The Avengers, Ghostbusters and Star Trek, and is one of Tinseltown’s highest paid actors, raking in a not-so-modest US$31.5 million (A$40 million) in 2017. He was Home and Away veteran Ray Meagher’s favourite star to that has gone onto massive success. “He was pretty good naturally when he arrived and when he got here he didn’t stop working and kept trying to improve and get better. And he did,” Meagher said.

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2. Isla Fisher

390 episodes 1994-1997

Isla first appeared in Summer Bay back in 1994 as bright-eyed foster kid Shannon Reed. After four years on the show, she decided it was time to move on and a few years later scored her big break as Mary-Jane in the kids film Scooby-doo. This was followed by roles in Confessions of a Shopaholic, Wedding Crashers , The Great Gatsby and Now You See Me. She also played Rebel in the fourth season of Arrested Development. According to the website Celebrity Net Worth, the 41-year-old actress now has a net worth of US$20 million (A$25 million).

3. Julian McMahon

145 episodes 1990-1991

The son of former Australian Prime Minister Billy McMahon dropped out of uni to pursue acting, which got off to a great start when he landed the role of Ben Lucini in the Aussie soap. He then made the big move to Hollywood and was soon cast in Charmed and Nip/Tuck . In 2009, Julian was reportedly earning US$175,000 (A$220,000) per episode of Nip/Tuck. In addition to his TV work, he’s also starred in the films Fantastic Four, Premonition, and RED.

4. Melissa George

496 episodes 1993-1996

Melissa played Summer Bay sweetheart and tragedy-rocked Angel Parrish for three years. She left the show bound for Hollywood, starring in a number of TV series, including Friends, Alias, and In Treatment, which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for. Melissa also appeared alongside Ryan Reynolds in the horror flick remake The Amityville Horror in 2005. She annoyed Australians when she snubbed the nation and Home and Away in an interview, saying “I don’t need credibility from my country any more, I just need them all to be quiet”. Melissa has since apologised for her comments. Her net worth is estimated to be about US$5 million (A$6.3 million).

5. Tammin Sursok

307 episodes 2000-2004

Dani Sutherland was Summer Bay’s headstrong teen, who even served a stint in prison for attempted murder. But Tammin channelled her flair for the dramatic towards Tinseltown and joined The Young And The Restless in 2007. Her most recognisable and long-term role is playing bad girl Jenna Marshall in hit series Pretty Little Liars. Tammin, who boasts 1.1 million followers on Instagram, has extended her talents beyond the camera with a children’s clothing line called Stella Phoenix.

6. Ryan Kwanten

211 episodes 1997-2002

He became an instant Hollywood hit when he was cast as Jason Stackhouse in cult vampire series True Blood in 2008, but once upon a time Ryan was Leah’s loveable hubby, Vinnie, who left the show after being arrested for fraud and later died in witness protection. Kwanten has also starred in a string of movies and is set to play a dirty cop in the new crime series The Oath. Ryan is reportedly now worth a cool US$3 million (A$3.77 million), according to The Richest.

7. Dannii Minogue

123 episodes 1989-1990

Even before she was on Home and Away, Dannii rose to prominence in the early 1980s for her role in Young Talent Time. She then joined the Channel 7 soap before following big sister Kylie’s footsteps and pursuing a career as a pop singer in the early 1990s. She has starred on a string of talk and talent shows in the UK and Australia, including The X Factor. She may not be a Hollywood superstar, but Dannii, who is worth an estimated $22 million (A$27 million) is still raking in the big bucks thanks to her music and TV appearances as well as work with brands such as Target, L’Oreal Professionel Australia and Virgin Australia.

8. Isabel Lucas

256 episodes 2003-2006

The very shy character of Tasha Andrews was involved in some of the most interesting plots in Home and Away, including the super dangerous cult she got caught up in, but Isabel expanded her horizons after three years playing the part. She has since starred in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Red Dawn, Daybreakers and The Loft. The passionate environmentalist has 118,000 followers on Instagram.

9. Brenton Thwaites

56 episodes 2011-2012

One of the new faces that has just started popping up on big screens, Brenton is best known for his role as Henry in the 2017 $US320 million blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. But before he was acting alongside his A-list buddy Johnny Depp or Hollywood glamour Angelina Jolie in the fantasy hit Maleficent, the Cairns boy played Summer Bay River Boy, Stu Henderson.

10. Lincoln Lewis

541 episodes 2007-2010

Lincoln’s character Geoff Campbell was one of the top heart-throbs over the series’ 30 years. Serving a solid stint on the show, with a string of love interests including Tessa James’ character Nicole, Lincoln branched away from the bay and has since starred in Tomorrow, When the War Began, Bait and Postcards. He is the son of NRL legend Wally ‘the King’ Lewis. The 30-year-old, who has 128,000 fans on Instagram, won the Logie in 2008 for Most Popular New Male Talent.

11. Samara Weaving

336 episodes 2009-2013

Nearly five years after leaving the bay, Samara is just starting to make waves in the big smoke. Starting her career as Summer Bay’s hot property Indigo Walker on the soap, Samara has since been in a number of productions, including series SMILF and Picnic at Hanging Rock, as well as movies The Babysitter, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Mayhem. The niece of Aussie acting royalty Hugo Weaving has 80,600 followers on Twitter – no small feat!

Other notable mentions …

Their time on the long-running soap may have been short, but Home and Away has also appeared on the resume of these Hollywood stars.

Heath Ledger

11 episodes, 1997

He only appeared in Home and Away briefly as bad boy Scott Irwin, Sally’s love interest, but Heath’s career rapidly skyrocketed in Hollwood. He soon starred in acclaimed films including 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale and Brokeback Mountain, for which he picked up a best actor Oscar nomination. He tragically died before he won an Oscar for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Home and Away’s top dog Ray Meagher, better known as Alf Stewart on the soap, said Heath was the first big name to come out of the series. “It’s fantastic what happened with him,” Meagher said. “He was only here a short time and not long after he left he just went ballistic, he was probably the first huge number that has been through our doors.”

Naomi Watts

19 episodes 1991

The Oscar-nominated actress only had a short stint on Home and Away playing Julie Gibson, who over the course of a month had a romance ruined by her overbearing brother, lost her father to a heart attack and left the Bay to study at university. Now one of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars, Naomi has had leading roles in blockbusters like Tank Girl, King Kong and The Impossible.

Simon Baker

19 episodes 1993-1994

He has starred alongside A-list veterans Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada and Kevin Spacey in Margin Call, but Simon had humble beginnings in Summer Bay playing photography teacher James Healey. He is best known for his role as the star of US TV series The Mentalist and The Guardian.

Guy Pearce

19 episodes 1991-1992

He started out on Neighbours but after four years Guy jumped to rival soap Home and Away for a short stint, playing Donald Fisher’s nephew, David. He shot to fame shortly after leaving when he starred in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. His impressive films include The Hurt Locker, Prometheus and Iron Man 3. He also won an Emmy Award for his work in Mildred Pierce alongside Kate Winslet.

Rumours of Mad About You reboot

AFTER witnessing the successful reboots of TV classics Will & Grace and Twin Peaks (with a new Roseanne on the way), there are talks that 1990s hit Mad About You will also return to our screens.

According to TVLine, Sony, who produced the show, “has begun informal talks with leads Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser about bringing the series back for a limited run”.

Reiser also co-created the comedy, which centred on married couple Paul and Jamie in New York. The TV show filmed its last episode in 1999.

Media reports suggest that the eighth season would take place in the present day, focusing on the couple’s life together after their 17-year-old daughter, Mabel, goes to college.

“If we can find the story to tell, and anybody’s interested, I’d be open to it,” Reiser told People magazine in October.

Reiser, who has most recently been seen in the Netflix hit Stranger Things, told People that until recently he had been wary of any talk of a reboot.

“For years, I would’ve said, ‘Absolutely no. We never would do it,’ because I was very proud of how we ended it really well.”

But Reiser said, “To me, it’s interesting when I see my kids are growing and leaving the house. It’s like, ‘Oh.’ It’s like that moment when you get married. It’s like we’re in a new world that we don’t know the rules of.”

After Mad About You, Hunt’s movie career went from strength to strength, with the actress winning an Academy Award for her role alongside Jack Nicholson in As Good As it Gets. She was also garnered a best supporting actress nod for her stellar performance in the 2012 film The Sessions.

KAK on ‘f***ing drunk’ John Stamos interview

IT HAD all the elements of a viral live television trainwreck and now Kerri-Anne Kennerley has opened about about the infamous interview she did with a “f***ing drunk” John Stamos.

Asked about the awkward moment that saw the rambling Full House star thrust against a prop and insult the veteran presenter’s outfit, Kennerley said she loved every second of it.

“I loved it. All the executives were starting to panic, but I thought it was fabulous,” the 64-year-old told TV Week.

The exchange has haunted Stamos, 54, for years. In a 2009 interview with The Advocate he admitted was drunk and not just jet-lagged — which is what a team of publicists insisted at the time in an attempt of damage control.

“:Yes, I was on sleeping pills and I was jet-lagged but I was also just plastered,” Stamos told the publication.

“And I never said I wasn’t, but that whole Warner Bros publicity machine got involved and said, ‘Just say he was jet-lagged’.

“I said, ‘No, tell ‘em the truth! I was f***ing drunk in Australia’.”

In 2014, Stamos and Kennerley were reunited on The Kyle & Jackie O Show, where the popular blonde host insisted there was no blad blood between the pair.

Sophie admits Bardot bungle

SOPHIE Monk has revealed a fun fact about her Bardot days that’s so niche only diehard fans who were truly invested in the television show Popstars will care.

If, like me, you were a 10-year-old boy living in north Queensland who tuned into the Channel Seven reality talent series every Sunday night and dreamt of having the same spiky haircut and statement eyewear of Katie Underwood, read on.

It was the year 2000 and German car manufacturer Volkswagen had just relaunched the classic Beetle model. With the car’s exaggerated curves and bold colours, every 20-something girl and closeted pre-teen boy living in north Queensland (me) wanted one.

After Bardot formed, producers on Popstars gave each of the five girls one of the new Beetles to cruise around Sydney in while they made their debut album.

I recently launched an investigation into where the Beetles have ended up over the years to track down the current owners of the cars to see if they’re even aware they own an iconic piece of Australian pop culture history. But upon talking to Sophie Monk, who found fame in Bardot before undergoing a rebirth and becoming Australia’s golden girl on The Bachelorette, she informed me the cars met a dark end.

“I smashed four of them. I smashed two bumping into poles. And another I parked on a hill and I kicked my door open and a bus drove by and smashed it off,” she recalled, noting she went through “every colour”.

“Then I ended up with my boss’s car. My neighbour knocked on the door and went, ‘Sophie your car!’ I looked out and it wasn’t there — I thought someone has stolen it. But I’d forgotten to put the hand break on and it rolled down and smashed into every car in front of it.

“The producers said, ‘We’re struggling because you’ve smashed all the cars’.”

Following Popstars, Bardot topped the charts with their self-titled debut album and its lead single Poison. After moving to the UK in 2001 to complete work on their follow-up album, Katie Underwood left the group. And Monk wanted to leave to.

“When she (Underwood) said it I went, ‘Me too,’ and they (management) went, ‘No not you — if you leave there’s no band’,” Monk said.

“(I thought) Are you kidding? Why is she allowed to leave and I’m not? I’m leaving too!”

Monk recalled the hype that surrounded the band following the TV show before its demise in 2002.

“We were working so hard. People were breaking their arms in shopping malls over us. I didn’t want that attention so young,” she said. “My attitude was all very different. I didn’t crave it. It just came.”

Monk said the girls were paid just $25 a day while performing in Bardot.

“Our contracts were very different to what it would be today. We came out of nowhere,” she said. “A lot of people whinge about that but it was my break. In the beginning you’ve got to do a lot of favours for free.”

After leaving Bardot, Monk moved to Los Angeles where she starred in a string of comedy films. Earlier this month, the 37-year old told news.com.au her Hollywood dream came to an end when an acquaintance swindled her out of everything she had earned.

“Someone ripped off all my money,” the Love Island host told news.com.au.

“It was a friend of mine. I gave too much permission. I let this person run my banking. You can’t sue because I said yes. I signed the papers without reading them.

“You can make money (in this industry) but you can lose it if you don’t know what to do with it. You’re too busy working that you don’t pay attention. The money side, that’s not my thing. I don’t do numbers. I’m a saver, which is stupid. I didn’t invest.”