After struggling to cope with the basic rations and harsh conditions, Gemma sensationally walked out of the jungle yesterday in scenes that will air on tonight's episode.
Appearing on ITV's This Morning today, her close friend and TOWIE co-star Ferne said she was stunned by the dramatic exit – particularly as it came just a day after Ferne herself had insisted Gemma was not a quitter.
Ferne said: "I haven't spoken to her yet but I'm just as shocked as everyone else. I feel bad for Gem because some people are saying it's not a surprise, but I feel like [it is].
"I was only saying yesterday that she wasn't going to quit and would make it to the end. It's just a massive shame."
Ferne went on to suggest that perhaps Gemma hadn't been as "mentally prepared" for her jungle experience as she'd thought.
"She has so much going on before going into the jungle, and personal issues and I think maybe she wasn't as mentally prepared [as she thought] but how can you prepare for something like the jungle? Should she have gone in? Yes, I think she should have."
Ferne pointed out that although Gemma is used to reality TV being in TOWIE, it's an entirely different experience in I'm A Celeb.
"TOWIE and I'm A Celebrity are both reality programmes but you can't compare. This is a complete challenge whereas on TOWIE she is very comfortable and she's been on it for years."
Ferne suggested that Gemma decided to quit after being thrust into the bunker challenge, which has yet to be shown on TV.
The remaining celebrities in the Celebrity Slammer camp, a jungle-style jail, will have to survive a night in a snake, rat and insect-ridden bunker to win the right to enter the normal camp.
Ferne said: "When Gemma makes her mind up, that's it. I think what's happened is that she's gone in the bunker and that's tipped her over the edge, but Gemma will be disappointed."
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