Charlie Simpson has revealed he chose his rhino costume on The Masked Singer as a nod to his wife’s childhood and family.
The 37-year-old Busted star won ITV’s secretive singing competition on Saturday evening after he performed three songs including Lewis Capaldi’s Before You Go.
Following his win, Simpson explained the story behind his cowboy-inspired rhino costume choice saying: “My wife grew up in Kenya so I spend a lot of time in Kenya, and we spend a lot of time on safari.
“I actually walked with rhinos, and some of the rhinos, there’s only a handful of them left. They’re really endangered and they have to be guarded by military personnel now, so the poachers don’t get them and I actually got to go and walk around with them, with these guards, it was incredible – with some of the last few remaining (rhinos) on Earth.
“So that was incredible, they’re incredible animals. But I wanted to represent that side of my family.”
Simpson has been married to his wife Anna Barnard since 2014 and the couple share two children, sons Arlo and Jago.
He also revealed that his time spent in Kenya led to a “terrifying” experience.
Simpson said: “We camped in the (Masai) Mara once, and there was a lion outside my tent.
“I’m not joking, you’re meant to have a guard that looks after your tent at night and ours wasn’t there.
“And my wife was there, and this f****** lion, that literally sounded like a diesel engine, I would say, (was) 10 feet from our tent.
“And I said to my wife, ‘I don’t know what we’re supposed to do here because I’m f****** shitting myself.
“So I had a plan… I basically got a match and said to my wife, look here’s a plan we’re just going to burn the tent and then just run.
“But luckily the lion just pattered away.”
Simpson’s affiliation with African wildlife has also found its way into his latest musical release, with the title of his recent EP, Kifaru, translating to rhino in Swahili.
The singer explained his children’s reaction to his unmasking, which saw him beat Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, who was disguised as Phoenix, and All Saints star Natalie Appleton as Fawn, to be crowned the winner.
“My kids were blown away by it,” he said.
“They kind of knew. It was weird, Jago, my youngest’s reaction, once my head came off, because we were watching it with another family and so everyone started screaming, but he went into himself a bit and was actually a bit quiet and the things that worried him the most were, ‘when did you do this?’, ‘how did I not know about it?’.
“He started contemplating in his head and I was like ‘Jago don’t worry about it, it’s fine, I did it a while ago’ and it was just so sweet to see him suddenly start to think ‘how did this happen?’.
“But they loved it.”