Marcel Somerville first found fame at just 16 as a member of the chart-topping UK hip hop group Blazin’ Squad.
He then became a household name after making it to the final of Love Island 2017, finishing in fourth place, and so Marcel may be used to the spotlight but he’s about to face his biggest challenge yet – fatherhood.
The 34-year-old has exclusively revealed to OK! that he and his girlfriend of 14 months, Rebecca Vieira, are expecting their first child together.
Rebecca, 24, and Marcel had been trying for months to get pregnant after sadly suffering a miscarriage last year.
But celebration of their good news was temporarily halted after Marcel was rushed to hospital where doctors say he nearly died from a diabetic attack.
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“I was throwing up, felt light-headed. I lost weight, my face was sunken and you could see my bones,” he tells us.
However, thanks to the NHS – and a nurse called Anne, in particular, who Marcel says saved his life – the author, rapper and reality TV star is on the mend and has even made plans to marry his boutique owner girlfriend.
Here, the pair, posing at their lovely home in London, open up about getting over the grief of loss and discovering they were expecting…
Congratulations on the pregnancy. When did you find out?
Marcel: About seven weeks ago.
Rebecca: I meant to do a big reveal to Marcel. I wanted to do this big thing, but I was so excited I just ran downstairs and I was like, “Oh, my gosh!”
Marcel: Yeah, I was in the studio with my headphones on and she tapped me on the shoulder. She had loads of pregnancy tests in her hand, just to make doubly sure. It was crazy! It’s my first baby and I’ve been waiting a long time for this, so it’s just mad.
Were you trying to get pregnant?
Rebecca: We were trying for months.
Marcel: Yeah, last year we were trying and then something happened, and after that we kind of knew we wanted to have a baby, so we did start trying but it took a little while for it to happen.
Can you tell us what happened?
Rebecca: We miscarried [Rebecca gets teary and struggles to speak].
Marcel: We don’t really like to talk about it. We found out we were pregnant very early in our relationship, and both felt like we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, so we were getting ready for the baby. And then we found out we had a miscarriage. We both took it really badly. It took a little while for us to get over it, but it did make us stronger because when you go through something like that, it makes you be there for the other person.
Rebecca: It was hard to go through but it really did bring us closer together.
Did that experience make you worried for this pregnancy?
Rebecca: Yeah, for certain. I still worry, every time I go to the toilet I check.
Marcel: You’ve always got the worry. Even when we found out she was pregnant this time, we did a 100 tests to make sure.
Rebecca: He’s so protective, every time I get a little cramp he’s like, “Are you okay?”
Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?
Marcel: No, we haven’t found out yet. We’ve got our first scan next week.
Rebecca: The doctor said you can find out between 16 and 20 weeks. I’ve been buying clothes for both boys and girls. They’ve got four seasons of clothes already [laughs].
Marcel: I haven’t got a preference. Obviously a little me wouldn’t be too bad for the world, but a little Rebecca would be equally a great blessing.
How did you two meet?
Rebecca: We saw each other at [London nightclub] Libertine in 2018, but we didn’t speak to each other. Then he messaged me on Instagram.
Marcel: Wait, you messaged me on Instagram. You see how she’s trying to change history now?
Rebecca: Okay, I messaged him on Instagram and he replied. He would check on me, like, once a month to see how I was. He always said he didn’t want to ruin anything with me by rushing it and he wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. He said he wanted a relationship with me in the future so he wouldn’t meet up with me until then.
Marcel: After how my last relationship ended, I had to get my head in order. There were a lot of things happening. I lost my nan and Mike Thalassitis passed away. I just wanted to focus and get my head and energy right. It was a year later when we went on a couple of dates. We’ve done a lot of nice stuff and it kind of just progressed from there.
Marcel, you nearly died and spent a lot of time in hospital. What happened?
Rebecca: That was so scary.
Marcel: Three weeks ago I had Diabetic Ketoacidosis [DKA]. It basically means the ketone [a chemical the liver produces when it breaks down fat] levels in my body rose too high and turned my blood acidic. I was throwing up, felt light-headed. I lost weight, my face was sunken and you could see my bones. It was because I have Type 1 diabetes, but I only found that out in hospital when they asked, “Do you know you’re diabetic?” I had no clue. But in the lead up to that, I’d lost a lot of weight. I’d just shot a music video and, watching it back, I was thinking, “Why do I look so skinny?” I was in hospital for over a week in intensive care and high dependency units because all the nutrients in my body were gone. I was very close to being in a coma but thanks to the NHS I made it through. I have to give a shout out to Anne, the nurse who got my blood levels back to where they should be and saved my life.
At first you thought it was coronavirus – tell us about that?
Marcel: When I started throwing up, I thought it was weird. We called 111 and they thought I just had acid reflux, but as it went on there was the thought that maybe it was Covid-19. Luckily, after the hospital did all the tests, I was just diabetic.
That must have been terrifying for you, Rebecca?
It was so scary. I didn’t know what to do. I called the ambulance – he couldn’t breathe. He was just upstairs fading away, it was the worst. Now he’s doing so well, he’s keeping his levels stable.
Marcel: I experienced the worst thing you can as a diabetic, so it was a proper shock to the system. But diabetes is very manageable as long as you look after yourself and you stay disciplined with what you’re eating. It’s crazy that I didn’t know I had this condition, but if I look after myself I’ll be able to live a normal life.
Does anyone else in your family have diabetes, Marcel?
I asked my mum and my dad when I was in hospital and they said no. But as soon as the news broke it turned out my uncle’s got it, my aunt’s got it, the whole family has pretty much got it. It can be dormant in the genes for a while but stress can trigger it, so maybe Covid-19 and my work being cancelled brought it on.
What lifestyle changes do you have to make now?
Marcel: They key change is testing my blood before I eat anything. I’ve got a reader, so I prick my finger and it tells you what your blood sugar level is. If you’re below four, you’re having a hypoglycaemic episode. That means your blood sugar levels are low and you could faint, or, if it drops too low, you can go into a coma. But if it goes too high, you can also go into a coma. If I was to go out to eat, I’d need to see the nutritional value of the meal. There are so many apps now it’s easy. I’m quite good at structure and adapting so it’s not going to be a huge issue.
Is there a chance your baby will have diabetes?
Rebecca: It’s possible, because it can be in the genes. But usually Type 1 is triggered. The nurse said the baby will be tested for it.
Do you have plans to head down the aisle?
Marcel: A million per cent. I don’t want to give too much away, I’ve got certain plans. I know this is the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. There will definitely be wedding bells. I’ll give you a shout and you can come to the wedding.
If your child wanted to go on Love Island would you let them?
Rebecca: They can do whatever they want, to be honest, it’s their life.
Marcel: Love Island gives you a lot of opportunities, it can change your life for the better, but there are elements that I don’t really want my child to go through. You get trolls and you’ve got to deal with so much pressure, so there are good points and bad points. If it’s something they really want to do I’d have to break it down and give them some guidelines about what to expect and how to act.
What’s next for your careers?
Marcel: For me, the next step is Squad Ties with Melo from Blazin’ Squad. We had a lot of plans to get things popping early this year but Covid delayed things because we couldn’t meet up to do videos and get stuff recorded. But there’s going to be a lot of stuff coming out and we have a little tour at the end of the year also.
Rebecca: Well, we’ve got our YouTube channel, Life With MR, and I’ve got my business. It started as a jewellery shop but I expanded so now we have swimwear and eyelashes – I want to start doing clothes, too. It’s called Arabella’s.
What life message will you give your baby?
Marcel: My life message is; be positive no matter what happens in life, look at the positives. I nearly died, but I came through it and I’m just happy to be alive and to be able to see my baby.
Rebecca: I read something lovely somewhere that said the pain you’re feeling now is nothing compared to the joy that is to come.
If you had to pick two people from Love Island to be godparents, who would they be?
Marcel: Jonny Mitchell because he is my best friend from Love Island. And Rykard Jenkins, he’s not from my series but Rykard and Jonny are my best mates from the Love Island experience.
Camilla and Jamie are also expecting, have you told them that you’re pregnant yet?
Marcel: I messaged Jamie the other day but I didn’t want to say anything about the baby until we got the three-month scan and we’re sure it’s safe. It’s crazy that our baby is going to be a few months after theirs. I’m sure there will be some Love Island play dates in the future.
Marcel, is Rebecca showing any signs of ‘baby brain’?
Marcel: To be totally honest, yes. The other day she forgot how to boil potatoes!
Rebecca: I’m such a good cook as well! I was looking at the pot thinking, “Do I put them in when the water is hot or cold?” I legitimately couldn’t remember.
If you’ve re been affected by diabetes, please go to Diabetes UK’s website on diabetes.org.uk or call the Helpline on 0345 123 2399.