Former Big Brother star Glyn Wise admits his decision to embrace Christianity and become a priest began after he lost himself to the whirlwind of publicity that surrounded his appearance on the hit reality show.
The Welshman was just 18-years old when he appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother – then a hugely popular Channel 4 flagship – in 2006, finishing runner-up to winner Pete Bennet.
Glyn, a Christian since birth, has since turned his back on public life, opting instead to devote himself to God and a surprising new chapter as a trainee priest in north London.
New direction: Former Big Brother star Glyn Wise admits his decision to embrace Christianity and become a priest began after he lost himself to fame following his appearance on the show
But he admits to losing touch with his faith while being filmed 24-hours a day, and would often pray beneath the sanctuary of his duvet because he feared being mocked for his faith.
He told MailOnline: ‘I had so much faith and determination to get a place on TV’s biggest reality show. I prayed and as always – God was listening. He guided me through the audition process easily until I entered the show.
‘Back in 2006, one in four of the population would watch reality TV. I prayed for God to guide me through the game show and eventually, after three months of being locked in a house I finished as runner up.
‘However, I prayed under the covers as I thought “being cool” was more important than being a Christian, which I heavily regret.’
Old times: The Welshman was just 18-years old when he appeared on the seventh series of Big Brother – then a hugely popular Channel 4 flagship – in 2006
After spending his childhood in rural Wales, Glyn was quickly swept up by London’s hectic party scene as he adjusted to life in the public eye following his appearance in the Big Brother compound.
However he struggled to adapt to his newfound celebrity status and admits his devout attachment to Christianity was all but forgotten as he attended non-stop red carpet events, exclusive parties and premieres.
He said: ‘After the show, I was thrust into the spotlight. I was a guest on all UK TV and radio shows. I won a contract with Calvin Klein modelling agencies; I was a youth radio host for BBC Radio Cymru and I was given the tile of ‘Ambassador of the Welsh Language’ by Rhodri Morgan, Wales’s first minster.
‘I was invited to all sorts of parties and movie premieres – but deep down I felt lonely. During all this period I had left my faith behind. I had lost the real me in the middle of all the glitz and glamour of fame. I needed to get back on track.
‘I had become someone I hardly recognised but yet everyone else felt as though they knew me.’
Popular: Glyn finished runner-up on the show, but he admits to detaching himself from his life-long Christianity while in the Big Brother house
Party time: He was quickly swept up by London’s hectic party scene as he adjusted to life in the public eye following his appearance in the Big Brother compound (pictured in 2008)
Glyn eventually turned his back on fame and returned to his native Wales, where he enrolled in a Welsh degree at Cardiff University and settled into student life while reconnecting with his faith.
But a five year spell overseas teaching English literature, sports studies and ‘survival GCSE Spanish’ in China set him on the path to Priesthood, with Glyn quickly integrating himself into Shanghai’s Community Church.
He explained: ‘I grew in my faith in the five years I was in China. First of all I would attend Christian worship classes, Bible study, men’s groups. Then I wanted to become part of the church, so I volunteered to be in the Welcome Group, the leader of the British Christians and I lead a successful Alpha Course.
‘Being a Christian helped me find my place in Shanghai, God was always besides me. I travelled to all the countries in South East Asia and I found it remarkable how the Christian faith is growing at rapid speed.’
In demand: However he struggled to adapt to his newfound celebrity status and admits his Christianity was all but forgotten as he attended non-stop red carpet events (pictured in 2006)
Moving on: Glyn eventually turned his back on fame and returned to his native Wales, where he settled into student life while reconnecting with his faith (pictured in 2015)
The spread of COVID-19 eventually resulted in Glyn returning to the United Kingdom, but his responsibilities in China soon led him back to London and a new role as a Pastoral Assistant at St. Michael’s Church in Camden.
He said: ‘While reading the Church Times I came across an ad that was looking for Pastoral Assistants at Old St Pancreas diocese. I jumped on the chance and found myself in the role within a week.
‘I gained a lot of experience and knowledge from Father Michael at St Michaels Church in Camden. From gaining people skills to general running of the Church I have embraced every second of it.
‘I have never felt closer to God in my life and now I’m fortunate enough to find myself in a position where I’ll be in full time training to become a priest with the Church in Wales starting September.
‘The confidence I carry is thanks to my experience as a Pastoral Assistant and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life.’
Confession: In a recent Instagram post Glyn revealed that the training will take two years and wrote in Welsh that he would be starting in September
Reality fame: Glyn captured hearts on his season of the show as he learnt household tasks such as cooking and cleaning (pictured while on Big Brother in 2006)
Pals: Former Big Brother housemate Paul Burrell and show winner Pete Bennett joked congratulated him on his career change
After gaining experience as a Pastoral Assistant at the church, he will complete his training in Wales.
In a recent Instagram post Glyn revealed that the training will take two years and wrote in Welsh that he would be starting in September, after jesting that he’d be like something out of sitcom Father Ted.
He wrote: ‘I’ve really enjoyed giving sermons & bringing the good word to people. In 2 years time I’ll be Father Glyn – my life will be like a sketch show out of #vicorofdibley & #fatherted but I’m looking forward to it! So happy!’
It’s been over 15 years since he entered the Big Brother House as a fresh-faced lifeguard, but Glyn seems to have made longstanding ties with famous faces who have also entered the iconic house.
Paul Burrell wrote: ‘Congratulations’, while Pete Bennett joked: ‘Can I come to confession please father’.
Glyn captured hearts on his season of the show as he learnt household tasks such as cooking and cleaning.
He previously made headlines as he dipped into politics after his Big Brother days, standing with Welsh party Plaid Cymru before his eventual career-change.
Many jobs: Glyn previously dipped into politics after his Big Brother days, standing with Welsh party Plaid Cymru