It’s easy to forget that ex Idol star Shannon Noll was also a farmer during one of Australia’s worst drought crises of all time.
I mean, it’s not that hard to forget – the “I’m from Condobolin” country-boy schtick was routinely whipped out through his entire season of the show, and interviews afterward.
Also, in my favourite song of all time’s film clip.
But these days the true-blue Aussie has been more associated with strip club brawls and being this poster-dude for ~Strayaaaa~ etc, so naturally when he had an exceptionally emotionally-charged convo about his experiences on the farm in last night’s episode of I’m A Celebrity, fans took notice.
Basically, Shannon was having a d&m with fellow contestant Fiona O’Loughlin, and the topic of his Idol cashola came up.
Shannon explained that since he was a teen, their farm had been in crippling debt.
“We tried to farm our way out of [debt], and the next two years we failed because of drought,” he told Fiona. “So that cost 40 or 50 grand at a time for fuel and feed and that sort of thing”.
And while you’d think Idol and Shannon’s new-found fame would help out with the cash situation, it actually made it worse.
“We went further into debt so we had a family meeting and said: “If we fail again we’re gone”, so we had just enough money to buy another house and I went on Idol and it all blew up from there. A few creditors were left over and they [had] seen me on the show and chased mum really hard for the shortfall. I wrote a cash cheque out for $209,000 to a tractor company.”
Shannon became emotional recalling his family’s farming troubles, and stressed that he didn’t lose it via splurging.
“I thought I was doing the right thing. I was a farmhand, I’d never run a business before so I paid a lot of those debts out and consequently all the big money I made after the show, I paid bills with it. I didn’t blow it on yachts and all that sort of stuff.”
Shannons family had spent over 100 years on their land, with Shannon being a fifth generation farmer. Sadly, in 2009, they had to sell. To make things worse, his father passed in a farming accident, which brought more grief to the family.
Fiona O’Loughlin did what any of us would do – gave Shannon a huge hug.
“When those beautiful eyes teared up at the end – he’s such a beautiful boy,” she told the cameras.
Fans took to Twitter to express their condolences.
Know your hurt quite well Shannon😔Sending lots of love your way😘
— Donna Maree (@donnapettiford1) February 19, 2018
A lot of respect to Shannon Noll after that bit of speech about his family farm on #ImACelebrityAU
— Loki Gill (@Lockie89) February 19, 2018
@NOLLSIE you are a inspiration! I lost my dad at 18 and watched my mum have the same heartbreak. The bills you paid for the family showed true selflessness! Today’s the day to remember your amazing father and I bet you have become more than “half the man he taught you to be” 👍🏼
— Joel (@AussieJC) February 19, 2018
— Tiffanyy Pogmore (@TiffanyyAmbeer) February 19, 2018