There’s no denying it’s been a year of highs and lows for Tziporah Malkah. From the stresses of being attacked by online body bullies and being plunged back into the limelight after living as a recluse for years, to the joys of her triumphant appearance on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! and finding love – Tziporah has lived it all.
But it seems 2017 had one last blow for the former model, after a brush with the law recently came close to landing her in jail.
Talking about the court case that saw her found guilty of three offences after an afternoon of ‘erratic’ driving earlier this year, Tziporah tells: ‘It’s been a pretty awful time.’
Over a cup of herbal tea at the South Australian home she shares with partner Guy Vasey, Tziporah, 44, tells us about her ‘monthus horribilis,’ having to front up to court two weeks in a row, facing a magistrate, then the barrage of cameras and microphones outside.
On December 15, the packed courtroom heard how, while driving her car on the way home from the shops in ritzy Toorak one January evening, Tziporah hit three roundabouts, reversed into a parked car, then refused a police breath test.
Fined $1500 and banned from driving for 27 months, the star is still reeling from the highly-publicised court case.
So what happened?
‘I pleaded guilty to these three charges so I have to accept I’m to blame. But despite what anyone may think, I hadn’t been drinking,’ Tziporah shakes her head. ‘I love a glass or three of wine, but not when I’m behind the wheel.
‘On this particular evening, I was tired, stressed, and on meds for anxiety and depression.
‘Having just worked five night shifts in a row, nursing sick and dying elderly patients, I was completely drained. Plus, I was about to fly to Africa to make my TV comeback – after years of living anonymously – to appear on I’m A Celeb, and I was pretty nervous about that.
‘So yes, to be honest, I was “erratic” that day, to use the police term – though not from alcohol.’
Tziporah admits she made things worse for herself when, approached shortly afterwards by police officers, she refused to cooperate with them.
‘Officers fronted me, demanding I blow into their breathalyser,’ Tziporah recalls. ‘Instead, I told them where togo.Thatwassillyofme–in hindsight – as I had nothing to hide. I hadn’t been drinking.
‘But as I was already pretty agitated, I got upset at how the police were towards me. I’m still upset at how they handled this. That’s something I’ll be following up with my lawyer.
‘Originally, the police charged me with seven offences – but thankfully my lawyer got four of them dropped, and after that I could breathe a little easier, knowing most likely I’d just be fined, not jailed.
‘This whole court case has been quietly weighing on me for months. I was able to make a couple of preliminary court appearances without anyone recognising me, but then all of a sudden the press found out about it, so come early December, they were there in droves,’ she exclaims.
'Really, I haven’t had this much attention since I had my boobs done when I was engaged to James Packer.’
She rolls her eyes, recalling those carefree times when, as Kate Fischer, the glamorous young model girlfriend of the high-profile mogul, she ‘thought nothing of blowing $3000 on, say, an aquamarine ankle bracelet to wear with my thongs. Ah, those were the days!’
She manages a grin. With Tziporah’s regular income now just $200 a fortnight, working asacarerforGuy–who has a stress-related disability – she says the court fine was a huge financial setback.
Tziporah says that while generally the medication she takes for anxiety and depression does its job, ‘occasionally if everything’s not going well, like I'm especially tired or upset, there can be an unpleasant reaction, like giddiness and confusion’.
‘And January 3 was one of those days. Several elderly patients to whom I was close had just died. I was exhausted, emotionally wrung out, and anxious.
‘Plus back then, the prospect of going on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! had me worried. Was I ready?’
As viewers of the jungle show will know, Tziporah later won over fans with her personality and quirky nature. ‘Looking back, perhaps I wasn’t ready to go on the show. I was still on my meds and still had a lot to sort out in my life. And I still do!
‘Look, any of my friends will tell you I’m not a perfect person. I have my ups and downs. A lot of “shite” has happened to me in recent years. But you won’t find a more loyal friend than me, and that’s what my mates like about me – it’s certainly not the bank account.’ She manages a giggle.
Tziporah’s immediate aim for the new year is to work on her weight loss. ‘As I told New Idea a few months ago, I’m aiming to lose lots of weight and eventually you’ll see a fitter, svelte me!’ she assures.
‘I have lost a few kilos so far, but there’s a fair way to go, and my weight goes up and down, up and down, all the time. Lately, on my long drives, I’d keep the energy levels up drinking Coke and eating snakes, jelly babies, and chocolates. But now that I’m going to be on shanks’s pony a bit more – well, no excuses
I guess,’ she rolls her eyes.
‘But let’s just get the festive season out of the way first – I do love a nice plum pudding, washed down with a glass of some nice homemade soda – of course!’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!