Go Compare man reveals huge weight loss after years of ‘wearing mask in public’

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

Welsh opera singer and broadcaster Wynne Evans, famously known for starring as tenor Gio Compario in the Go.Compare adverts, has reflected on his struggles with anxiety and depression after recently losing more than five stone, revealing that during his darkest times he contemplated suicide.

Wynne, 51, who lives in Cardiff, explained that after his marriage broke down in 2016, he was “the saddest (he had) ever been in (his) life”.

He said he was “going through the worst depression” and considered taking his own life, however, given his successful singing career and his “upbeat” BBC radio show in Wales – where he aims to “cheer up the nation”, he felt he “had to wear a mask publicly to show everything was okay”.

On top of this, Wynne said he has struggled with his weight ever since he was a child, weighing 150 kilos (23.6 stone) at his heaviest – and at one stage, he said he would “have to be careful what chair (he) would sit on, just in case (he) broke the chair”, describing it as “embarrassing”.

However, after kickstarting his health journey in September last year, losing 35 kilos (5.5 stone) so far, and by speaking about his mental health struggles, Wynne said he feels “alive again” and wishes to give the message that people should never “feel ashamed of anything”.

“You can only do it when you’re ready to do it, when you know you can get through it,” Wynne said.

Life is about putting in the work yourself. You put in some work on your mental health or your physical health, and then you get a bit of luck – that luck could be an opportunity, like it was with me getting the Go.Compare job, or it could be the spark that makes you lose weight or get healthier.

“When you put the work in, then you’re ready to run with it… So, my message is talk to people, get involved, do stuff, and don’t feel ashamed about anything – whether you’re feeling low, or fat, or thin, or anything. There’s no right or wrong, just don’t be embarrassed.”

Wynne was born in Carmarthen and lived a “normal life”, with his mother working as a hairdresser and his father working as a carpenter.

However, this soon changed when his mother Elizabeth Evans became involved in amateur dramatics at a local youth club – later going on to save The Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen from demolition, which was made into a film titled Save The Cinema – and Wynne “got the bug” himself.

Wynne explained that he was “always around the theatre” and so he decided to become an opera singer, studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio in London, before working at The Royal Opera House (ROH), Opera de Lyon, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

Wynne, who has two children, Ismay, 21, and Taliesin, 18, sang all over the world – with his favourite performance being a Russian opera, Cherevichki.

While working at the ROH, Wynne said he was asked to go for an audition for a Go.Compare advert – formerly GoCompare – to help a friend, and this catapulted him into the limelight as Gio Compario, “the Go.Compare man”.

However, despite his rising success and the character’s popularity among younger audiences, many “hated” the advert.

“I was in people’s houses 24/7 and, I’ve got to be honest, people were annoyed by the advert and I was devastated,” Wynne explained.

“There was even a ‘I hate Wynne Evans the Go.Compare man’ page, which had two million likes.”

Years later, in 2016, after branching out into radio and television, Wynne said his “marriage fell apart” and he fell into “the worst depression”.

Given both of his parents had passed away by this point, Wynne said he had “nobody there”; he felt abandoned and he started to experience suicidal thoughts.

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

Since food had always been a source of comfort for Wynne during times of stress or hardship, even as a youngster, “eating became second nature” and he reached his heaviest weight of 150 kilos (23.6 stone) following the split from his now ex-wife.

Reaching that weight meant he had to find specific retailers who sold his clothing size – a 5XL – and he even worried about chairs breaking beneath him, however, at the time, he did his utmost to hide his anxiety and depression from the world.

“I was doing a daily radio show where the feel of it is upbeat and keeping people in a good mood and cheering up the nation,” he said.

“The strapline of my show is, ‘cheering Wales up by one o’clock’, but I was going through the worst depression, clinical depression.

“I would think about (suicide), I would try and action it… I couldn’t see a way out; I couldn’t see a way of ever being happy again.”

However, one Easter Sunday, Wynne said everything came to a head and he knew he needed help, and he “started to try and put (his) life back together”.

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

He continued: “I was feeling suicidal, and it was terrible.

“I just thought, I’m either going to do something terrible or I need to go and see a proper psychiatrist.”

Wynne saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed tablets for his anxiety and depression and he said he felt “much better, practically instantly”.

He feels it is “really important” to speak about mental health because there is no point “pretending everything is okay”.

Looking back now, he feels “depression and anxiety is (his) superpower”, as it has made him “a better singer, better entertainer, and a better person”.

“I had bad anxiety and I used to get stage fright, and I think it’s made me a much better person actually,” Wynne said.

“I’m much kinder, much more patient, I try and live every day to the fullest and really enjoy myself.

“I started to rebuild my life and that’s where I am today – I do a show every day, I’ve got my own TV series in Wales, and it’s great.

“If I could freeze life and keep it going like it is now, I would do that.”

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

While Wynne addressed his mental health struggles, he knew his lifestyle and diet needed to change, too – and so he kickstarted his fitness and weight loss journey in September last year following a camping trip with some friends.

Wynne explained that he “couldn’t join in” on the hikes, he was “having trouble washing in the shower”, and he realised “this has got to stop”.

The father-of-two bought a Peloton bike and treadmill, and started running every day – an activity which has improved his mental health – and he also adjusted his diet and calorie intake, cutting out cheese, one of his favourite treats, along with carbohydrates.

He said he is “still not tiny”, but he has lost 35 kilos (5.5 stone) so far, including 10 inches off his waist, and he feels “great”.

He wants to continue to work on his health and fitness “to see what happens” and to encourage others to make changes “at the right time for (them)”.

Wynne, who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Platinum Jubilee Honours List, also has ambitions to do more TV work, to take his radio show to a larger national audience like Radio 2, and to “try and spread good feeling amongst people”. He is even rumoured to be appearing on Celebrity MasterChef.

 (PA Real Life)
(PA Real Life)

“I feel amazing; I can dress smarter, I can be smarter,” Wynne said.

“I mean, if you’re happy being a bigger person, that’s great, that’s fantastic, but for me, it has just made me feel so much better.

“I feel alive again, and I feel like I can do anything now.”

He added: “You can always find the wrong time to start, but it’s got to be the right time for you.”