CJ de Mooi: I spent three years homeless after growing up in a ‘violent, racist, homophobic household’

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CJ de Mooi, ex-star of BBC2’s Eggheads, has revealed how he spent three years living homeless after he grew up in a “violent, racist, homophobic household.”

In a recent interview with the Daily Mirror, CJ says: “I grew up in a violent, racist, homophobic household in Rotherham. It just wasn’t me.”

As he elaborates in a Youtube video posted last year, he lived with his mother and father to whom he now refers as just “the male” and “the female.”

“They were very abusive – physically, verbally – and I remember several occasions where I had scalding hot coffee thrown in my face.

“I was beaten, I was attacked. I had things thrown at me that you really wouldn’t expect, including broken glass.”

He added: “I don’t refer to them as my family. They are just blood relatives. After my 17th birthday, I walked out in a thunderstorm with just the clothes on my back.

“I spent two months on a park bench in Rotherham before walking to Sheffield.”

Afterwards, CJ then hitchhiked to Waterloo’s ‘Cardboard City,’ which was then shelter built by homeless people in London.

He added: “I begged and shoplifted. The attitude then was that homeless people were crooks. Most people did not accept the complexity of the problem.

“Waterloo was violent. I was frightened the whole time.”

CJ then continued to sleep rough in Amsterdam for 18 months after stowing away. It was only after begging outside a German club that he was finally offered a job as a male model.

“A guy gave me some money and told me to contact his agency,” he said. “I was unbelievably lucky.”

De Mooi, now the ex- star of BBC 2′s Eggheads, was in 2011 banned from presenting prizes to the winners of the British Chess Championship because he was wearing a Stonewall ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’ T-shirt.