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The heartbreaking reason Andrea McLean was extra vulnerable on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins

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To say that Andrea McLean was put through her paces on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins would be an understatement. The TV star had to climb a mountain, abseil down a rock face and battle freezing temperatures among other challenges, and she was even left with hypothermia by the end of her time on the show. But there was a heartbreaking reason why Andrea, 49, was feeling extra vulnerable; her beloved dog Jackson died while she was away filming.

"It sounds like such a small thing but actually it was huge, the day I got out my dog died," Andrea told Metro.co.uk. "My dog is a huge part of my life, and dealing with that over the phone, calming down the children, sorting them out, and walking into the house and the dog that I'd had throughout, to open the door and he wasn't there, I was dealing with that as well. So there was a whole lot going on in my head."

a person and a dog posing for the camera: andrea-mclean-dog-dies © Provided by Hola S.L. – Hello Magazines andrea-mclean-dog-dies

She continued: "What it made me realise is that, as a mum, you try and lead by example with your children. 'Talk to me if something's bothering you, don't bottle it up,' and then I realised actually I'm not leading by example. So this has actually been really good for me.'"

Andrea's dog Jackson passed away last year, with the Loose Women panellist revealing the devastating news on air. The mother-of-two broke down in tears as she said last November: "I can't believe it, my dog Jackson died. Gosh, I didn't think I would get upset. It happened a couple of weeks ago. He was a huge part of our life. A dog is a member of your family." Andrea then went on to talk about the impact Jackson had on her life, and how he had been "the man in my life."

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On introducing her dog to husband Nick, Andrea explained that it had been a big deal. She said: "I was with Jackson longer than my ex-husband. Draw your conclusions! When he [Nick] first came to the door, I was like, I hope they get on. Literally, when Nick came in through the door, time stopped and heart eyes came out of Jackson's eyes. Barry White music played. He fell in love with him, Jackson followed Nick around. He died in Nick's arms."

Following the show, Andrea took to Instagram to pay tribute to Jackson, and explained that she hadn't spoken about his death until now as it was "too raw and too awful to say out loud." The presenter wrote about how Jackson had been her "loyal, loving friend," and that their "home is not the same without him."

a small dog with a purple flower: andrea-mclean-new-dog © Provided by Hola S.L. – Hello Magazines andrea-mclean-new-dog

Last month, Andrea introduced her gorgeous new family member to fans – a rescue puppy named Miley. "It's fair to say we're madly in love with Miley already [loved-up smiley emoji]," Andrea captioned a photo of herself cuddling her new pooch.

Related: The most adorable celebrity pets [StarsInsider]

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