He may have come under fire during his time in the Big Brother house with accusations of bullying thrown at him, but Derry’s own BB star Conor McIntyre has proved himself to be a real softie at heart.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ after walking out of the BB house with £50,000 in prize money, the 24 year-old fitness instructor said he was most looking forward to “getting home and giving my ma a huge hug”.
Conor left the BB house 10 days before the grand final after pipping fellow contestant Luke S to £50,000 of the £100,000 prize money in The White Room task.
Since leaving the house on Friday night he says he has had the “maddest weekend ever” but his real prize will be “stepping back on Derry soil”.
“It was the hardest thing I ever did,” he said of his time in the house. “It’s just so surreal, waking up every morning in this confined space with people who you may or may not like - and you just have to deal with that. But you can’t distract yourself with music or TV or whatever. You just have to get on with it and try and make the most of it.”
Conor could easily be described as the “Marmite” of this year’s Big Brother - evoking a love or hate following from viewers.
“I don’t think I was portrayed in the best light,” he said, “I’ve apologised for anything I’ve said which may have offended anyone but it’s time to put that behind me now. It has been hard to read some of the stuff which has been said about me - but for every bad comment I’ve read, I’ve found 20 positive comments.”
While Conor entered the house wanting to win, he says he doesn’t regret his decision to take the £50,000 prize money and leave the house ten days before the grand final. “When I was on ‘Bit on the Side’ the pyschologist said I was very much a winner anyway as I had been so entertaining and so well liked. That meant the world to me.”
The best bit of the experience for Conor has, however, been witnessing the support of the Derry people. He said he was moved to tears by positive posts on the Team Mackers Facebook page and the experience has reminded him just how “amazing the people of Derry are”.
“Honestly, the people of Derry have been amazing - just amazing. When I get home there is going to be one big party. I just want to thank everyone for their support. I’m completely overwhelmed by it.”
As Conor’s exit from the BB house was unplanned he said it was “very tough” not to have any family members there to greet him as he left. “All I wanted to do was see my family and friends. My girlfriend Kayleigh arrived on Saturday and I just hugged her so tight.”
Hinting that he may try to forge a career for himself in TV Connor said: “I’m told I come across well on TV. I just want to forge a good life for myself, Kayleigh and my family. I don’t care about the money.”