Kirk Norcross got our attention as the cheeky Essex boy from The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) in 2010, but now he has broken away from the TOWIE machine to make a name for himself. We interviewed him exclusively last week about his attempts to distance himself from the series, his new autobiography, and the tough childhood that made him the man he is today.
In TOWIE the Kirk we see is a spoiled rich kid who drove around in posh cars and lived of his fathers millions, but Kirks book, Essex Boy: My Story, sets out to show that this was not always the case. When we asked him what inspired the book he said he wanted people to know the real him,
"People have an opinion of me that I'm some little rich boy and they're right to say that because that's all they've seen me do on TOWIE".
But he wants people to know where he came from, "I didn't have the best start in life" he added, "there's two sides to me and I am what I am for a reason." Kirk admits that he goes into great detail about his past in the book,
"I've spoke about every aspect of my life from times having to have days of school because we didn't have enough money to go school, Christmas Day having no electrics sitting in the dark, I've gone into detail about everything. But I'm not ashamed of it, it's made me who I am, it's made me very strong."
Kirk and his brother, Daniel, were raised in a poverty stricken community by their single mother after their father left when Kirk was just 5. His father began working his way towards being a millionaire while Kirk, Daniel and their mother were made homeless and forced to live in a hostel with unsavoury characters.
"Me, my mum and my brother had to share a kitchen, living room and bathroom with like 80 other people that lived in the hostel. It was bad at first and then when my brother got shot it was crazy, that was when we realised the type of people we were living with."
The family lived there until Daniel was shot and Kirks mother demanded the council find them alternative accommodation. They were moved to the notorious Gray's Estate in Essex.
Gray's is known as rough, and it is the influence of the area that prompted Kirk into his first sexual encounter in a Park near the Estate. He says he got the girls from an early age because he stood out,
"I grew up in a bad area but I've always had a bit of charm about me, so I was always the different one in the area, so I always had a couple of girls cause it was different seeing someone as chirpy and smiley as me in the area I was growing up in."
Then tragedy struck and Kirks first proper girlfriend was killed in a car accident in Turkey whilst visiting family,
"It was when I was about 16 so it was a first school crush. I remember that she was a triplet and I met her through a friend," he remained composed stating, "It was very upsetting you know, to experience any death at that age is very traumatic."
He left school with few qualifications and no idea where life was going to take him, until his father, Mick, stepped in to turn his sons life around. "I didn't have a clue, no dreams, no goals, or anything." Mick gave Kirk a place to live, but before long, Kirk moved into his fathers house in a separate section at the back of the converted farmhouse.
This reconciliation was easier than many would have expected however, given Kirks troubled past, "It was so weird," he admits, "it was like click of a finger and he was my bestmate." He said it felt like a natural father-son relationship, despite everything that had happened,
"It just felt so normal and I'm gutted that I missed the whole [father-son] experience. My dad was always there, but wasn't as much as I'd've liked him to be involved."
He doesn't blame his dad for his past though, saying "Everyone does things for a reason, I don't like the way that he left my mum but now I'm older I understand love and I understand that sometimes you have to leave and walk away." He added gratefully, "I owe him everything, I really do."
When Mick bought Sugar Hut, Kirk began promoting Thursdays nights, we asked him how this came about and he said,"Both of us sort of came to an agreement. I was doing nothing, I had nothing, no goals or anything."
He begged his dad for one chance to change the notoriously quiet night, "My dad was like 'Right, I'm gonna shut Thursday nights 'cause it's shit' and I was like 'Dad I've got nothing to do, can I not just have one go at it' and he was like 'Yeah, go on then, do it'." And he did, Thursday evenings were originally pulling in a mere £500, but Kirk turned things around soon bringing in £20,000.
Sugar Hut is now one of the main shooting locations in TOWIE and many infamous scenes have been filmed there, including many of Kirk's scenes with then girlfriend Amy Childs. This infamous relationship started before TOWIE, and he still insists today that Amy is the true love of his life.
"We're so alike me and Amy," he said with regret in his voice, "She is the love of my life and the one that got away."
His off-again-on-again relationship with Lauren Pope on TOWIE also attracted much attention from the press, but Kirk claims that it was the fact that he wanted to settle down when Lauren didn't that doomed their relationship,
"I've always wanted kids, I wanted kids at a young age, and I just didn't think she wanted to." He said he never told her that was the reason they separated though, "I just thought of any other excuse to split up with her."
Kirk and Lauren Pope.
Kirks next big relationship was with porn star Gemma Massey, but he couldn't cope with the nature of her job and the couple were driven apart. "I hurt her and I'm gutted I did," he said when asked their relationship, "It was my fault, I should have never got involved with Gemma because I knew what her job was."
But still, like both Amy and Lauren before her, he admires her after their split, "I don't care what she does for a job, I just couldn't deal with it at that time. She was amazing." He doesn't regret any of his relationships, stating thoughtfully, "If it weren't meant to be, it weren't meant to be."
Amy, Lauren and Gemma all feature in Kirks book, but he hasn't divulged everything despite claiming recently to have slept with up to 1,000 women in the last 10 years. He insisted that he wasn't counting though,
"I don't do it then go, 'One minute babes, I just need to write this in me book'. I'm just sort of guestimating!"
Another big moment in Kirks life was he decision to appear in Celebrity Big Brother last year. He wanted to do something that was pure reality, as everyone knows that TOWIE isn't completely organic,
"I got a call 3 weeks [after leaving TOWIE] 'Would you like to do Celebrity Big Brother' and I thought 'Fucking brilliant, what a show to do that's pure reality, fly on the wall, it can show the real me' but then I was yet to find out that they only show an aspect of you that they want to show."
He claims to have only been shown in the playboy light that he was best known, not cooking, cleaning and having heart to hearts with the other contestants. Despite this he remains a fan of the show, "Obviously it was amazing an a dream come true to be in there."
Kirk kissing fellow contestant Georgia Salpa in the Big Brother house.
During his time in the house he struck up a friendship with the notorious bad boy Frankie Cocozza, but not long after they left the house a rift came between them.
"He was texting a girl that I was going out with and living with me at the same time. So I told him not to, he said 'Oh sorry' but then carried on. So I just said to him, 'Right fuck off now mate, don't wanna see you no more'. I didn't think we had fallen out, I just thought that he knew where he stood."
Frankie Cocozza and Kirk Norcross.
Frankie clearly disagreed after telling tabloids only last month that Kirk "turned into a bit of a dickhead". Kirk didn't let Cocozza's claims phase him stating, "At the end of the day he's a kid, that's all he is."
After Big Brother, he returned to TOWIE for the seventh series, but left in series eight claiming it wasn't the same show he signed up to, "I left TOWIE because I think TOWIE's changed," he said simply, "[it's] still a good show but it's not what I started, it's not the show that we was originally on."
We asked him if he regretted doing TOWIE after it was revealed that Kirk frequently experienced panic attacks when making public appearances,"It was TV in general, if I could go back and not be on TV I actually would not do TV."
Despite this anxiety, he said he was grateful that TOWIE has got him where he is today, "TOWIE's helped me out," he pointed out, "I'm very thankful that they asked me, and I'm glad that I took the part."
Looking towards the future, Kirk wants to shed his TOWIE skin and step into the limelight as himself, not a character known from the show.
"I really want to break into the music industry, but I want to wait until the TOWIE buzz has completely gone, I don't want to make it to look like I'm using the buzz off TOWIE to try and launch my music career. I'm still known as Kirk from TOWIE, once I'm known as Kirk Norcross I'll then pursue my music career."
We ended our interview by asking if there was a possibility of another book, but Kirk declined saying, "I think a persons got one story to tell in their life, it might be at the beginning of their life, it might be at the end. You've only got one time to explain yourself."
Kirks autobiography Essex Boy: My Story is out on April 25th.
By Sophie Atherton @SophAthers