A MULTIMILLIONAIRE was given a shock after spending five days on a council estate, giving up his maids, chef and yacht for the week.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, 50, who is worth nearly £200m, is used to £20k meals out and living in seven lavish mansions – but was forced to survive on just £57 on Channel 5’s Rich House Poor House.
Barrie, who made history with ex-partner Tony for being Britain’s first gay dads, handed over his £6 million Essex mansion and chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to single mum Ocean for the TV experience.
In exchange, he headed to a council estate in nearby Braintree to stay in barmaid Ocean’s tiny two-bedroom council flat, where she lives with eight-year-old daughter Oziana.
Speaking to Fabulous ahead of Sunday’s episode, Manchester-born Barrie, who is a dad-of-eight, said: “I was not keen at first to be honest with you.
“I thought ‘hell no, I’ve lived that s***y council house life and I never want to live it again’.
“But I thought it might be nice to take my kids to see how the other half live and what it was like for me growing up with nothing.”
Upon arrival, the council flat was a far cry from the houses he lives in, which have a minimum of six bedrooms and full 24/7 staff including a driver and personal barman.
He said: “I had left the Rolls Royce at home with my driver for the other family so we ended up in an Uber.
“I could see a lot of depressing boarded up windows and doors, and people scurrying through the streets like they had somewhere important to go.”
Barrie was immediately upset that there was no parking and he was forced to walk on foot.
He continued: “As we pulled up at the side of a street with no road, and no parking facilities, we walked with our cases past several buildings.
“I felt out of my depth, that’s for sure.”
I thought ‘hell no, I’ve lived that s***y council house life and I never want to live it again’.
Barrie was joined by fiance Scott, 28, their two-year-old daughter Valentina – and he was visited by his other daughter Saffron, who previously said she’d cry if she had less than $1m in the bank.
A few years ago, Barrie confirmed he had fallen for daughter Saffron’s ex Scott, and they are now engaged, and also share baby Romeo.
Speaking of their initial reaction to their council flat, Barrie said: “When we arrived, Valentina said, ‘wow this is a huge house’ thinking that the whole apartment block was one house.
“She’s not used to neighbours.
“Saffron was shocked when I gave her a tour of the whole apartment as it is the same size as her walk-in wardrobe at home.”
But it wasn’t completely as terrible as Barrie had thought it would be.
He added: “I had envisaged that it would be filthy and dirty but the family who lived in the house kept it spotless.
“The bed was not so comfy and the state of the decoration was awful.
“It was so bad that Scott spent one night stripping it and painting it.
“I think they did the best with what they had and they were obviously very proud of what they had, however little it actually was.
“This is most people’s reality after all.”
Barrie, who bought his newborn son a £2.5 million yacht, was given some cash to live off with his family for five days.
However, the amount didn’t go down too well with the multimillionaire.
Saffron was shocked when I gave her a tour of the whole apartment as it is the same size as her walk-in wardrobe at home.
He said: “As a rule at home, we don’t have a budget, we just buy what we want.
“We were given £57 total, it was a struggle.
“How on earth does anyone survive on £57? Especially with a kid and household bills.”
On the flip side, the wealthy businessman said he gave Ocean a budget of £5,000 to live on in exchange for the week, but he wanted it to be higher.
He said: “With seven houses to keep going you can imagine the cost of running them and staffing them, but for the show, we had to come up with a figure.
“The show producers wanted us to give a maximum of £2,000, which is, they said, is the maximum that anyone normally gives.
“I said that I would not do the show unless I could give a more realistic amount.
“Even though it could not be the amount we normally spend, I wanted it to be at the very least, £5,000.
“This way, it could be somewhat more realistic to what I thought they would have a great time on and I wanted to allow the new family to enjoy my house.”
Barrie admitted he tried to smuggle a luxury Harrods hamper and even Pot Noodle into the council flat, but it was confiscated.
He was then forced to try and buy food with his £57 for the week – and he found it very tough.
Barrie, who spends £4million for his family’s Christmas each year, added: “I have my own personal chef, David, and I’m used to having Michelin star quality food three times a day.
“It’s hard to estimate how much I spend on food, but one meal out could be £20,000.”
On Sunday’s episode, which airs at 9pm, Barrie heads to the local shop to see what he can pick up.
He added: “Food is so expensive. I didn’t realise at all how much a breast of chicken is, and a loaf of bread.
“You end up buying crap food and nothing that’s nice, and food is one of my main pleasures.
“It was so difficult. We needed loo roll and milk and we needed to buy electricity? My god that was a performance!”
And it went down even worse when Barrie tried the food, with him adding: “Everything tasted like liver or horse meat.”
I have my own personal chef, David, and I’m used to having Michelin star quality food three times a day.
The jetsetter was also in for a shock when he realised he couldn’t remember how to wash or iron clothes, as his maid usually does it for him.
Barrie explained: “I had to pull out my own clothes and deal with the kids all day with no nannies or chefs.
“I had forgotten how to wash and iron clothes, now I know again.”
Barrie admitted he nearly cracked during the council estate experience and checked his family into a hotel.
He said: “The flat was ok to live in, it was clean and tidy so comfortable enough, however, the people upstairs were fighting and arguing for hours.
“They played rap music for hours and hours into the night.
“At one point I heard them screaming at each other and then a thump on the floor and then nothing, I thought one of them had killed the other.
“That was the first night, it was like a nightmare.
“I told the production company the next day that if it carried on, I would move with the kids to a hotel but the following night we heard nothing from the flat.”
Meanwhile, the parents took their kids to the local play area, and Valentina was not keen to try out the rusty slide.
The young tot has her very own £50,000 playground at their Grand Designs style £6million mansion in Essex.
I had forgotten how to wash and iron clothes, now I know again.
So did the experience change him?
Barrie added: “This experience did not change me in the slightest.
“It made me realise why I work 18 hours a day and why it’s important to maintain a healthy mind and body to work hard for your family.
“But I did love the experience, it was surreal to be back in a council house and watching every penny.
“I missed my shower and my bed, my coffee machine and my chef.
“In fact I missed everything, I love my bubble!”
BARRIE’S FAMILY LIFE
Millions will recall pictures of Barrie and Tony cradling week-old twins Saffron and Aspen — born to a surrogate in California in 1999 — as they revealed themselves as the UK’s first gay dads and the first same-sex couple to be named on a birth certificate as parents.
The former couple, now worth nearly £200 million from their ventures including a trans-Atlantic surrogacy business and a global medical research company, became civil partners in 2006, then wed as soon as it became legal in the UK in 2014.
Saffron and her brother Aspen were conceived using the donor eggs of one woman, Tracie McCune, and carried in the womb of surrogate Rosalind Bellamy.
Manchester-born Barrie is the biological father of one, and Tony is the dad of the other — so they are actually half-siblings born at the same time.
Aspen, though, does have an identical twin — Orlando, 18. This is because the embryo from which Aspen was born split in two in the lab.
The other half was put on ice for four years before being carried for Barrie and Tony in the womb of a Japanese woman called Donna.
Barrie and Tony also have a second set of twins, Dallas and Jasper, born 11 years ago after Donna acted as surrogate again.
This time the eggs were from a Brazilian model, who Barrie spotted on a catwalk and paid £35,000.
They have now split, with Barrie dating Saffron’s ex Scott, 28. They have four-month-old daughter Valentina together.
Barrie and Tony, who also has a new partner, remain amicable and the self-confessed “happy blended family’ all live together in their mansion in Tampa, Florida
But he was pleased that he was about to help Ocean, and said he invited her to visit his extravagant mansion in the Florida.
He continued: “I know half the country is struggling right now and I feel for them, I wanted to maybe help at least one family have a better future and taking part in this show, it has helped me to do that.”
The millionaire has forever ruled out shopping at bargain retailers Lidl and Primark in the future though, and added: “ Hell no! It is just disposable clothing and horse meat, no thanks.”
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow appears on Sunday’s episode of Rich House Poor House, which airs at 9pm on Channel 5