Veteran R’n’B star Alexander O’Neal has left the Big Brother house, Channel 5 said.
The American singer became the third person to leave the show unexpectedly, following the removal of former Coronation Street star Ken Morley and ex-Baywatch actor Jeremy Jackson.
In a one-line statement, Channel 5 said: “Alexander O’Neal has chosen to leave the Celebrity Big Brother House.”
O’Neal had an altercation with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, with last night’s episode revealing the singer was formally warned over his use of a homophobic slur.
Tension had been brewing between the pair since early in the morning, when Hilton woke O’Neal with his persistent coughing.
“What the f*** are you coming up here coughing all around me for?” O’Neal yelled.
Later he confided in housemates: “That’s what he wants. He’s blowing kisses at me ... He wants me to kick his ass.”
As the other celebrities in the Big Brother house urged Hilton to keep his distance, he instead followed O’Neal into the lounge room and stared at him silently.
“I know what you want, but you’re not going to get it. I know exactly what you want. And in America, you know what you’d get, don’t you? You want that now, but you’re not going to get it. You’re taunting me. You’re coming over here, you’re following me, you’re bothering me,” O’Neal said.
“You’re not going to say one word. You’re just going to sit there with that silly-ass f***** look on your face.”
Housemates reacted immediately, with one responding: “No no no no no no no!”
“He called me the F-word, which is incredibly offensive,” Hilton said, recoiling.
The remaining housemates, who include Katie Price, outspoken columnist Katie Hopkins and George Best’s son Calum, were read a message from O’Neal this morning announcing his departure.
In it he said: “To all my housemates, I’ve had a great experience with you guys and I have mad love for almost all of you.
“I want you guys not to be sad that I’m leaving and to not let my departure interrupt your experience.”
It is the latest controversy to hit the programme. Morley, 72, was evicted from the show for using ”unacceptable language” including repeated use of the word ”negro”.
And Jackson, 34, was booted out after former Page Three girl Chloe Goodman claimed he drunkenly tried to look at her breasts while the pair were alone in the toilet.
O’Neal, 61, had a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s including Criticize and Fake.
But chart success dried up and he has appeared in several reality TV shows including a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link, singing show Just The Two Of Us and Wife Swap UK.
He went into Celebrity Big Brother saying he wanted to win.