Donny Essex: Who Is TOWIE Star Joey Essex's Dad?

By Abigail Lister

13th September 2021

Donny Essex: Who Is TOWIE Star Joey Essex’s Dad?

Joey Essex Donny Essex

(Image/ Source:

Joey Essex made a name for himself on the ITV reality show The Only Way Is Essex, becoming known for his cheeky attitude and ‘reem’ catchphrase.

The tanned Essex boy was on the show for eight series and went on to star on shows like I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebs Go Dating.

Despite living his 20s on reality TV, fans actually know little about Joey’s family life.

So who is Donny Essex, Joey’s dad?

Who is Donny Essex?

Donny Essex is an ex-boxer and father to Joey Essex and his sister Frankie Essex.

He has always been close to his children and even helped get Joey to get a job at Billingsgate Fish Market when he was younger.

Who is Donny Essex

(Image/ Source: Twitter @JoeyEssex_)

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Joey has become more talkative about his dad in recent years, explaining the support that he gets from him.

On Instagram, he posted a picture on the occasion of starting the show Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, and said: “He’s one of the only people that I strongly trust and love in my life. I did this because I believe in myself… I will make you proud dad, Trust me.”

Family Tragedy

This year, Joey Essex opened up about the family tragedy that has haunted his entire life.

When Joey was just 10 years old, his mum Tina took her own life.

Joey Essex Mum

(Image/ Source: Instagram @joeyessex)

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Not long before, she developed an infection called candida, which can cause depression and other symptoms like fatigue and stomach issues.

Following her death, Joey and his sister Frankie were both brought up by their father Donny Essex.  He revealed more details about the tragedy this year in a documentary entitled Joey Essex: Grief and Me.

Ahead of the documentary’s premiere, Joey said: “Behind closed doors, I deal with pain every single day. I’ve been dealing with it my whole life.

People don’t see this, but it’ll be Mother’s Day, or it’ll be coming up to mum’s birthday and I’d be sitting in my house alone… I’d just have all the family pictures out, I’d be staring at them. I would burst into tears, crying on my own. I wouldn’t tell anyone that either.”

Joey Essex’s Career

Reality TV wasn’t always Joey’s plan. In fact, when he was a teen, his dream was to be a professional boxer.

Joey’s uncle, Tony Sims (father of fellow TOWIE star Chloe Sims) is a trainer, and the TOWIE man put plenty of time into training.

However, his dreams were ultimately dashed by Donny Essex, who said his son was “too pretty” for the sport. Lucky for Joey that he did give it up, and he’s certainly found fame and fortune with his looks.

Joey Essex Career

(Image/ Source:

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He was one of the main stars of ITV’s reality show between 2011 and 2013. Afterwards, he appeared in a number of shows including Splash!, Educating Joey Essex, and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!

Joey did well in the jungle, finishing fourth. Former Westlife singer Kian Egan ended up winning the series.

The cheeky chappy has also appeared on comedy shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Celebrity Juice.

What is Joey Essex Doing Now?

The 31-year-old might have left TOWIE behind a while ago, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy.

This year, he has been publicising the release of his documentary, appearing on talk shows like ITV’s This Morning.

Joey Essex TOWIE

(Image/ Source: Instagram @joeyessex)

However, he’s also had some fun on TV, too. He took part in Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, but voluntarily withdrew from the show with six episodes to go.

The same year, he also took part in Celebrity Ex on the Beach. This year, he continued his foray into reality dating TV by appearing on Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion.

Joey’s dating life hasn’t always been dry, though. He was previously engaged to TOWIE cast member Sam Faiers, but the pair split up in October 2014.

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