The most intriguing part of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here Australia is the stories and Travis Varcoe has not held back.
A day after talking about his sister Margaret’s death, at 27, Varcoe has spoken out about how he would “hate” taking his two children to an AFL game, largely because of the racial slurs he endured.
Speaking to fellow campmate, Grant Denyer, the 32-year-old recalled being called a “monkey or a chimp” while on the field. He also said that it “bloody hurts” when people attempted to ruin his image, by calling him a “petrol sniffer” on social media.
“I think one called me a monkey or a chimp,’ he told the former Family Feud host. “There was a Facebook page that had ‘petrol sniffer’ with my face on it… It hurts. It bloody hurts.”
While he has a “thick skin,” it was the personal attacks on his partner and children which “breaks your heart”.
“It’s quite difficult to sort of talk about it because you don’t want to see your loved ones go through something like that. All I can do is hope that when my kids get older that it’s better – even if it’s, you know, one per cent better.”
Travis Varcoe’s Sister Was 27 When She Died And It’s a Blinding Reminder That Life Is Short
Update: Jan 7, 2021
Travis Varcoe’s sister, Margaret, was just 27-years-old when she died in a “freak accident” on an AFL field in 2018. Now, only two years on, the former AFL player has opened up about her death, reminding us that life is incredibly short.
Speaking to his fellow campmate, comedian Mel Buttle, during the fourth episode of the hit series, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here Australia, Varoce reflected on the tragedy.
“It was just a freak accident where someone got tackled,” he said. “She came in and then must have got slung and they had a head clash.”
Varcoe’s sister was knocked out “straightaway” before waking up and going off the field and then collapsing again.
“And she, well, she never woke up from that,” he said, before adding that Margaret — or “Maggie” as she was known — was then put on life support. While that was hard enough, the doctors confirmed the family’s worst nightmare. Even if she did survive, the prognosis was still grim.
“There was every chance too, that if she pulled through she might not even remember any of us, which was quite heartbreaking,’ he said.
Varcoe recalled the death of his sister as the “toughest time” he had ever been through, still feeling insurmountable grief.
“You have good days and bad days, but I think they get further and further apart,” he said. “I don’t think it gets easier, I just think you find better ways of coping.”
Varcoe, a firm fan favourite due to his humble and kind nature, played in the Australian AFL for the Geelong Football Club from 2006 to 2014 and for the Collingwood Football Club from 2015 to 2020.
Throughout his career, he played 230 games for both clubs and after his retirement in 2020, the 33-year-old joined the Western Bulldogs as an AFL development coach for the 2021 season.
Varcoe and his wife Kim have two daughters, Olivia and Franki.