I’M A Celebrity’s strict Covid rules forced Olivia Attwood to sensationally drop out.
The model and TV host, 31, wanted to return to camp after leaving to deal with a medical issue.
However ITV bosses feared she could potentially infect the other contestants with the virus.
A source said: “She could see it was an impossible situation.”
For her to be allowed back, she would have to endure another week’s isolation, which was deemed “impossible”.
A TV insider said: “It was felt this would be too much time to spend away from the competition and potentially place her campmates at a disadvantage to her.
“Obviously viewers at home couldn’t include her in any votes, including selecting them for different challenges during the series.
“Olivia would have been going back in almost halfway through the series, which simply wasn’t fair.
“As frustrating and upsetting as that was for Olivia, who was willing to do whatever it took to go back, she could also see it was an impossible situation.”
The former Love Island star then flew back to the UK from Brisbane, though mystery still surrounds her departure.
All 12 contestants in the show, filmed back in Australia for the first time in three years, had to take a series of psychological and medical tests.
Most results came back before they started the series but some are returned after they have gone in to camp, which can cause a dilemma for producers, especially in the Covid era.
Last year Richard Madeley, 66, fell ill during filming and had to leave the set in Gwrych Castle, North Wales.
The GMB co-host then had to drop out completely due to the Covid restrictions.
Olivia, who is in a relationship with Blackburn Rovers midfielder Bradley Dack, 28, has kept a low profile since her dramatic exit.
‘It’s a bit scary’
Her best friend Georgia Harrison claims she has no idea what has happened to her.
She said: “To not know . . . it’s a bit scary.
“She just disappeared – one minute she was there and one minute she was gone. It is one of the strangest situations I have ever seen unfold on television.
“I haven’t heard from her, which I thought was quite surprising as we are close.
“But I don’t know what she is going through, she might just need a bit of time to take in what has happened.
“Maybe she just doesn’t want to speak to anyone.
“Sometimes when you are down, you just want to shut everyone out for a bit.
“I have sent her loads of messages and her messages are delivering to her phone.
“Some of the other girls in our group have messaged her too. None of us know anything.
“Her boyfriend Bradley told one of the other girls she was fine, and that is the only thing we know.”
Hosts Ant and Dec announced Olivia’s departure on Monday night’s show but revealed no further details.
Dec said: “You may have seen that unfortunately Olivia Attwood has left the jungle for medical reasons and sadly won’t be returning.”
Ant continued: “She does feature in tonight’s show, which was filmed before she had to leave.”
After she left, Olivia’s reps posted on Instagram: “To say Olivia is heartbroken would be an understatement. She dreamed of doing IAC for years.”
They added: “You will hear the truth from Olivia in due course.”
An ITV spokesman declined to comment.