Why Casey Donovan truly deserves to be I'm a Celebrity's queen of the jungle.

The announcement that Casey Donovan had won the third Australian season of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here had us fist-pumping with joy – and it wasn’t just because she’s the show’s first non-male, non-athlete champion.

The former Australian Idol proved herself time and time again to be Queen of the Jungle, before she was deservedly crowned on Monday night.

“Thank you so much,” Casey said through tears of joy.

The win clearly meant a lot to the star, who has been through so much since her first reality TV victory launched her to fame in 2004.

Listen: All hail Casey Donovan, our very first Queen of the Jungle. (Post continues after audio.)

As the 28-year-old recalled on I’m a Celebrity, the weeks and months after her Australian Idol win were difficult for the then-teenager.

“I’ve never been popular. I don’t know [why I won],” Casey told fellow contestant Tziporah Malkah.

“Coming from a 16-year-old that loved being invisible and just wanted to do music, I was definitely put in the spotlight.

“That was something I had to learn to cope with and deal with.”

Casey Donovan spoke about her highs and lows on I'm A Celebrity. (Image via Channel 10.)

Casey recalled her record company didn't know just where to "place" her, and she left them after the release of her first album in 2004.

"It got tricky and I kind of stopped doing music for a while because I just didn’t know what I wanted to do and went and got a job," she said.

The singer went on to release an independent album in 2008, and performed in musicals, all while supplementing her income with other jobs - including most recently as an Uber driver.

"I’ve been recognised a few times," she told The Daily Telegraph in an interview in January this year.

Donovan found roles in various musicals since her Australian Idol win. (Image via Getty.)

"I get paired with a lot of women when driving and some of them have been quite excited. I’ve been asked to sing.

"I find it funny. Some people want to chat and others are cool just to sit back in the quiet. I go with the flow and it is nice to meet people and hear their stories."

But life hasn't been without its troughs for Casey, who in 2014 revealed she was the victim of a catfishing scam in her auto-biography Big, Beautiful and Sexy.


The then 16-year-old had been contacted by an admirer who introduced himself as 'Campbell' while she was touring with the Australian Idol finalists in 2004.

Donovan in her Australian Idol days, 2004. (Getty)

Campbell always had excuses ready for cancelling their meetings and their 'relationship' continued over-the-phone for six years before Casey learned the truth - that he was really a woman named Olga.

"All I felt was dirty, uneasy and used. I was so ashamed of the person I had become, always considering Campbell in everything I did," she confessed in her book.

While in the jungle, Casey opened up about the experience to campmate Ash Pollard and began to tear up as she told the camera about having her fears confirmed.

In the wake of this horrendous experience, Casey turned to sex as a coping mechanism.

"When you’re emotionally disconnected from the situation, it can get really dangerous because you burn and churn, and with technology at your fingertips it’s just too easy," she told The Daily Telegraph(Post continues after gallery.)

Casey was also struck with anxiety in recent years, revealing to campmate Tegan Martin that she had a “pretty horrible” experience in 2015 and 2016. She was hospitalised three times last year, comparing her panic episodes to heart attacks.


“I think I just buried so many things over my life that I think in the last few years have just… I couldn’t keep pushing it down it actually had to come out,” the 28-year-old said.

However, things have been looking up for the star so far in 2017.

Casey's I'm A Celebrity prize money of $100,000 will be directly donated to the Starlight Foundation - a charity supporting seriously ill children and their families.

During Monday night's finale, Casey explained just how much winning the prize money on the charity's behalf would mean to her.

"[I want to help] young kids and early teenagers smile, be happy. Have their minds get taken out of a hospital bed, a room, help families in need and bring laughter and joy and happiness to what can be a horrible time."

Casey might have been crowned Queen of the Jungle, but she also proved herself to be a queen of hearts, shouting out to her fellow contestants with a gracious victory speech.

"I'm surprised I'm here. I'm grateful, I'm proud of myself and everything [I've] achieved," the star said.

"It's been fun, amazing. It's something that you would probably only do once. But I gave it a go and I think we all did that and we can all be super proud of ourselves."

Congratulations, Casey. You deserve it.