White Dee says Channel 4’s Benefits Street ‘ripped her old life apart’

Channel 4 Benefits Street star Dee Kelly was affectionately called White Dee during her time living on the now-infamous James Turner Street in Birmingham.

Soon after the controversial series ended, the documentary star decided to move to Handsworth instead and build a new life following the craziness of the show.

But the Celebrity Big Brother star has now admitted she misses some of her old neighbours but added that the 2014 show "ripped her old life apart".

Sharing how bittersweet the transformation was, the 49-year-old said: "The show ripped apart my life at the time.

"It changed my life forever and it destroyed the James Turner Street I knew before the show.

"I don't keep in touch with any of the characters featured in the show."

Reflecting on her past, Dee continued to Birmingham Live: "And in some cases that is a real shame.

"There are still people I do speak to on James Turner Street but none of them appeared on the show."

Dee was a fan-favourite but controversial figure on the series, and was dubbed a mum to many of the local residents claiming benefits on James Turner Street.

Due to the show's instant popularity, Dee was given the opportunity to debate over claiming benefits on various political programmes.

This then led to her chance to be a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother.

The TV star became housemates with the likes of Emmerdale star Claire King and former Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan, eventually going on to come fifth in the show.

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And in 2018 Dee was even cast in the critically-acclaimed Birmingham based film Ray and Liz.

The actress and documentary star went on to tell the publication that the show was a "crazy crazy time" and it was difficult to adjust because she wasn’t expecting the change.

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"Benefits Street caused such a storm and the people in James Turner Street were shocked by it and totally overwhelmed," Dee added, who has also said that her partying days in Magaluf and other party capitals is now over, because it wasn’t really her.

Dee now lives in Handsworth with her two kids Caitlin and Gerrard.

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