“You can’t leave, you have to stay, and you have to tell your story”

A former Big Brother contestant who had lost a child through still-birth prior to entering the house, claims producers wanted her to tell her story before exiting the show.

Kate Gladman, who was a contestant on the 2007 season of the TEN reality series, has told ABC that producers knew she had a child who died in birth before the series started, but a housemate challenge requiring housemates to care for “robot babies” was so traumatic she tried to leave the house.

On tonight’s episode of You Can’t Ask That she is one of several ex-Reality TV stars talking about why they signed up for shows such as Big Brother, Australian Idol, and My Kitchen Rules and issues around manipulation & editing, fame and adjusting to ‘normal’ life.

Gladman explained that Big Brother producers knew she had lost a baby through pre-eclampsia.

“I felt it was too deep and too real a trauma to be discussed on something as frivolous as a reality TV show. But the producers knew about it. They obviously wanted to get the story out of me,” she explained.

Describing a weekly challenge to care for ‘plastic robot babies’ she recalled, “It was making crying noises and I just…. the blood drained from my face. I said ‘You’ve done this deliberately and I want to leave the house.’

“And they said, ‘You can’t leave. You have to stay and you have to tell your story.’ That’s how they manipulated me: by asking me to look after a plastic baby in circumstances where I’d lost my own baby 18 months before.”

The incident did make news in 2007 with producers acknowledging they had misjudged in assigning the task and they should have shown more sensitivity.

Episode 2 of You Can’t Ask That Tonight also includesRob Mills (Australian Idol),  Sara-Marie Fedele, Benjamin Norris, (both Big Brother),Mick Donaher (Sylvania Waters), Sheridan Wright (The Biggest Loser), Ryan Jones (The Bachelorette), and Lauren Finelli (My Kitchen Rules).

TEN has been contacted for comment.

9pm tonight on ABC.


  1. Michael John

    You Can’t Ask That has to be one of the best TV shows, the shame is that the people who should be watching this show will never actually see it 🙁

  2. Does anyone else find the format of this show a real turn off to watch? The constant words popping up on the screen as they speak. It just really made me want to see the typical interview style instead.

  3. It was a very enjoyable show.
    The story about Kate and her BB experience was fascinating, and I guess it’s not really a surprise that Rob Mills has continued to seek out fame, he’s always seemed hungry for it.

  4. I had preconceived thoughts that Kate was being melodramatic and paranoid, but after just watching YCAT, I empathise with her and agree she was inappropriately manipulated by the producers of BB.

  5. Harshreality

    Lets put it in perspective.

    In a time of crisis most people seek the support of family and close friends. They do not get involved in a television reality show or go public with their grief. It appears she is a private person (fair enough) and if that is the case she should have never applied for the show as reality shows are only for the thick skinned, confident and extroverted.

    • It was 18 months earlier as indicated. At some point people seek their own way of moving on, but for outsiders to think it ever goes away is unrealistic. The info was disclosed with producers as indicated. Is it reasonable to expect it be used as for drama? Producers conceded they got it wrong. Thanks for the input, will see what others feel after viewing the show. The concept behind You Can’t Ask That is also to hear things first hand and not rush to judgement with preconceived notions.

    • Or … they don’t.

      Trust me, if you think you know how most people react at and after those times, you’re not half as smart as you think you are…

  6. I was on a reality television show a few years back. I became quite ill during filming and was taken to hospital. This however, was lost in the edit, and they told viewers I was being lazy and just didn’t want to show up to something, and showed footage of me tucking into some food in the kitchen shot earlier in the week before I was sick. I still love watching reality television, but definitely take the story lines with a grain of salt!

  7. I’d always been of the view that reality TV has been around long enough now that participants should know what they are signing up for. However, I watched this on iView at the weekend and found it really eye opening.
    In particular I really felt for Kate and also Ryan (from the Bachelorette last year) who seemed quite damaged by their experiences.

  8. thedirtydigger

    Ha ha ha – Harshreality hits it right on the head.
    If you don’t like getting wet stay out of the water you fame hungry lazy morons !
    The show producers are not your friends – they are as scared and worried about getting the “big” reaction so they keep their jobs !
    Accept the fact that whatever you say or do on the show will be re-edited , manipulated, shown out of context, re- used and abused for the Network’s gain. In perpetuity. And that’s a long time, peeps!

  9. Harshreality

    I always laugh when contestants of reality shows complain about their treatment on the show.

    If you do not want to have sex with random people do not become a prostitute. If you do not want to get naked do not become a stripper. Finally if you want to keep your private life private avoid auditioning for reality shows and stick to game shows.

    • I think the whole psychology of reality TV needs better examination, increasing numbers of people are living rather closeted unfulfilled lives so forming a vicarious relationship with one or other of the contestants must provide escapism in some way, the producers of these shows know from surveys what the audiences want.

    • Fair enough for the vast majority of complaints reality show participants make, particularly after a decade+ of the genre so people should know better but this is incredibly cruel and an extraordinary act of callousness, it’s sociopathic and beggars belief that not only was there a person who was nasty enough to captitalise on a mothers grief but then for others to agree with the plan and put into a action is grotesque, whoever came up with the idea should seek help, it’s pathological.

      • Harshreality

        The real failure was their contestant screening process. Kate should have been rejected and never allowed in the BB house. Having said that TV reality is just like a pornographic production. Money talks and there are few standards. Degradation and drama does bring big advertising dollars so they will do it otherwise they will be out of a job.

    • Harshreality

      Most women who had lost a child would be grieving not applying to appear on TV reality shows . It’s the same old victimhood of doing something stupid (applying to go on BB) and then expecting pity. She was not singled out as many other contestants had to do things they feared. She wanted her 15 minutes of fame and the prize money.

      • Have you viewed either You Can’t Ask that episode or BB 2007? I think you will find she was looking to forget a period of personal trauma. Strongly advise you avoid generalising through anonymity and let individuals speak for themselves.

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