The famously acid-tongued judge – who left the show in 2019 and was replaced by John Barrowman – discovered a love of gardening during lockdown and moved to Portugal just before Christmas, where he hopes to live off the land.
Gardiner, 49, told The Sun: “I was very lucky during lockdown. A neighbour of mine kindly offered that I get to use her allotment.
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“It changed my life. It was really quite profound and a beautiful experience. It put me on a different trajectory.
“We are moving towards being self-sufficient whether we like it or not. Being a grower of food and being sustainable is the future.”
The Australian choreographer kicked off the new year posting a video of himself chopping wood to heat his new home.
The famously “Mr Nasty” judge said: “If we don’t look after each other on our planet then – virus or no virus – we’re doomed.”
Gardiner captioned the post: “HERE'S TO A SUSTAINABLE 2021 What a tumultuous year it has been!
“We've all lost so much but we gained time... time to reflect, change and let go. 2020 was about clear vision, seeing the truth for ourselves. 2021 is all about what you choose to do with the truths you've learned.”
It’s a very different outlook from that of the skating judge who last January lashed out at his former Dancing On Ice colleagues Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, labelling them “fake and disingenuous”.
He said: “Since it was announced I was leaving the show I’ve had nothing from Phil and Holly. Not even a text message.
“It is hurtful, especially because when Phillip was getting a lot of negative attention recently I sent him a message of support.
“I thought they would get in touch but I’ve learned this industry is full of fake and disingenuous people.”
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