I’m A Celeb: Jill Scott opens up about being bullied by football rivals’ parents as a child

Lioness Jill Scott speaks with A Place In The Sun presenter Scarlette Douglas in the jungle

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here‘s Jill Scott has spoken about the prejudice she faced starting out in football.

Legendary Lioness, Scott, 35, told her jungle campmates other children were supportive of her playing football, but parents could be “mean”.

During a conversation with ITV newsreader and Loose Women host Charlene White and A Place In The Sun presenter Scarlette Douglas, Scott said she took up football when she was about five years old.

“[I was] playing in the schoolyard with the boys… I didn’t realise until a couple of weeks in that I was the only girl doing it,” she said.

“Even my grandma said, on my Christening day, my legs were like this [mimed kicking] the whole time… my grandma reckons she said, ‘she’s going to be a footballer’.”

Scott added the parents of kids on “opposing teams” made cruel comments to her when she started out, leading her to coming off the pitch “literally in tears”.
Scott said: “If I beat their precious son, they’d shout stuff at us, like, ‘kick her, hack her down’… I’d come off the pitch literally in tears.”

White, 42, told Scott her young daughter is now playing the sport, with the Lionesses’ epic win in the Euro 2022 championships providing “massive inspiration” for girls.

Scott said: “Along the way I had to put up with a few mean comments from the parents and stuff like that.

“Now, knowing that her [White’s] young daughter won’t have to face that stuff… she’s on the start of that journey and it can be an amazing one for her.”
Scott added that the Lionesses’ Euros win will be “iconic for a long time” due to the impact it’s had on young girls who want to get into playing football.

Scott has already become a favourite on I’m a Celebrity, after walking a plank on top of a skyscraper despite being afraid of heights, and kicking off a rendition of Sweet Caroline as part of a task’s prize.

After being asked to complete a chaotic secret mission which saw her tell White she turns off Loose Women because of all the “moaning”, she won a luxury item as a prize.

Scott chose to play the classic Sweet Caroline three times on camp in a bid to keep up morale.

Her choice has won over social media users, with one person writing on Twitter the footballer is a “f**king legend and icon”, and praising her positivity.

Another added: “Protect Jill Scott at all costs!! She’s a national treasure.”

The queer footballer was praised by thousands, including Prince William, when she announced her retirement after 16 years on the England team.

She announced she would be leaving the team in August, three weeks after she helped England win the 2022 Euros.

The Duke of Cambridge described Scott as a “pioneer” of women’s football, saying she had experienced a “wonderful career”.

“Congratulations on a wonderful career, it’s been a pleasure to get to know you,” he wrote.

Scott added that Prince William had “broken royal protocol” by giving her a “big cuddle” after England won the Euros, saying “he was just so happy for us”.