While some Apprentice contestants seem to get all the luck, fortunes haven’t been kind to others – with a string of disasters befalling a number of past contestants
The Apprentice is a reality show that is a little different to most – as it requires participants to be smart, rather than simply vacuous and fame hungry.
And while many contestants have gone on to find fame after featuring on the hit BBC show, the real prize is for the top winner each season who get’s to work alongside billionaire rags-to-riches success story, Sir Lord Alan Sugar.
But while The Apprentice requires participants to be business-savvy as they battle to win a contract to elevate their career goals, the show has featured some stars who have gone on to experience tragedy after enjoying their time in the spotlight.
From love splits, to miscarriages, to business disasters and even death – here are some of the tragedies that have befallen past Apprentice stars.
While the winner of The Apprentice can look forward to a job with Sir Lord Alan Sugar and a six figure salary, sometimes business disasters happen once stars appear on the show.
Back in 2015, Joseph Valente landed the top prize as a contestant on season 11 of the long-running reality show and used his prize to start and expand a plumbing business called Impra-Gas.
But by 2020, business delight had turned to bankruptcy disaster for the 33-year-old – as his company ran up debts of £2 million and the went bust.
Other companies owed money by Impra-Gas expressed their anger at the time of the announcement, with Nathan Oselton, of One Word Graphics, saying: “I feel pretty angry and mad about the way the company has behaved. It has always been a bit of a struggle getting paid.
“My accountant has looked at the paperwork from the liquidators and it does not look like he was making money for quite a while.”
Although The Apprentice doesn’t have the same annual romance scandal like Strictly Come Dancing with it’s alleged ‘curse’, occasional love liaisons have taken place over the past 17 years of the show.
According to The Apprentice rules, hook ups and sex between contestants is strictly banned – but that hasn’t stopped some of the randier participants from getting close with each other.
Anisa Topan, 41, and Andrew Brady, 31, caused a stir in 2017 when they allegedly broke the sex ban – while James White, 31, and Jade English, 29, had a ‘regretful’ fling that same year.
According to sources, the show’s boss is unimpressed that some contestants move their relationship from the boardroom to the bedroom.
A source previously told The Sun: “Lord Sugar has always hated the idea that some of the contestants might be getting together behind the scenes while filming.
“This isn’t Love Island. To him, the process should be solely about business. The latest batch of contestants face stricter monitoring than any past group.”
Stella English was the winner of series six of The Apprentice back in 2010 – landing a top job alongside Sir Lord Sugar and a lovely paycheque.
But her success turned sour when she quit her £100,000 per year job with the Labour peer, arguing she was used like an “overpaid lackey”.
Stella went on to launch legal proceedings against Lord Sugar, arguing she was the victim of “unfair constructive dismissal contrary to section 95 Employment Rights Act 1996.”
The courts, however, ruled in Lord Sugar’s favour as Stella had quit her job rather than being sacked – leaving her facing a huge mountain of legal bills.
Amid the business fall out, Stella’s personal life crumbled and she blamed the legal case for the collapse of her marriage to plumber Ray Dewar, who she shares two sons aged 15 and 13 with.
Speaking to the Sunday People in 2013, Stella explained that Ray stormed out of the family home saying: “I wish you had never done that show.”
While she herself confessed: “I wish I had never gone on The Apprentice. I’m broke and on my knees. I just don’t know how I’m going to carry on.”
Jessica Cunningham featured on the 2016 series of The Apprentice – later going on to be a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother the following year.
While the 34-year-old has enjoyed success in the spotlight, her personal life has featured some devastated losses – not least after the father of her first three children, Alistair Eccles, died by suicide in 2017.
In November 2017, Jessica drew sympathy when she revealed the devastating news that she had suffered a miscarriage after falling pregnant with her boyfriend Alex Daw.
Penning a heartbreaking blogpost titled And Then There Was Nothing, Jessica wrote: “The miscarriage lasted three days. We did another test which came up ‘not-pregnant’. Just like that, it was gone. That was the most painful part of it, only three days earlier it read pregnant and now it was gone.”
Jessica and Alex went on to conceive another child, who they welcomed together in July 2018.
Sharon McAllister was a contestant on The Apprentice back in 2006 during the second season of the show.
The 45-year-old was jailed for three months in 2015 following a child custody battle and after being found guilty of contempt of court after not giving her young son contact with his father.
Meanwhile, series six contestant Christopher Farrell, 39, narrowly escaped jail in 2011 after being found guilty of four charges of fraud by false representation.
The star had made three mortgage applications and one re-mortgage application totalling £750,000 on behalf of clients – without informing any of them of his actions.
He initially tried to pass the blame to work colleagues, before eventually admitting his guilt – and was handed a nine month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Stuart Baggs was a contestant on The Apprentice during season six in 2010 – getting fired in the penultimate week after failing at the finalist interview stage.
Sadly, Stuart passed away five years later at the age of 27 in 2015 after suffering a fatal asthma attack while on the Isle of Man.
Lord Sugar was among those paying tribute to the reality star – who has started his first ever business at the age of 13.
Lord Sugar said: “Stuart was one of our most memorable characters and regretfully he’s passed away, but he’ll never be forgotten. What a great character.”