Bruce Grobbelaar has quit 'Hell’s Kitchen' to be reunited with his wife.
The 51-year-old former Liverpool goalkeeper also said that the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster had been on his mind during his time on the show.
The crush claimed the lives of 96 football supporters on April 15, 1989.
Speaking after the programme, Grobbelaar, who was just feet away from distressed fans and raised alerts, said it had been a “trying” week.
The sportsman, who recently said that the terrible day would never leave him, said that Marco Pierre White and the ITV team had been “very graceful” and held a period of silence to mark the tragedy.
The trigger to his departure was seeing his wife Karen in the restaurant while slogging away in the kitchen.
Grobbelaar said: “My wife was sitting outside eating. That was the defining moment. I knew my prize was outside.”
He was a strong contender in the competition and had won immunity from a previous sacking for impressing White, who called him his “star boy”.
But he said: “I’ve got no regrets. I don’t have regrets. I’ve got a lot of respect for Marco. My respect for him has gone through the roof.”
Grobbelaar said he would consider opening his own restaurant in the future and continued: “I have learned a huge amount.
“He (White) is the finest chef I have had the privilege to be in company with.”
He said he would like any of the remaining candidates to win and added: “It’s not about me, it’s about them. Let them carry on.”
Last night’s show saw White, who was on the brink of sacking one of the celebrities, tell them: “I was quite proud of you all.”
Grobbelaar then piped up: “If I’m not the one sacked tonight I’d like to walk through the door.
“It’s not that I don’t want to stay here but I feel that these people here deserve it more than I do.”
He continued: “Yes I’m an old horse and I will serve you anytime you want but I’d like for these people to stay and me to go.
“’Cos I realised with my wife sitting there (in the restaurant) she needs me more than these people.
“I’d like the person that you were thinking to stay here to learn a lot more because you are a great teacher – a very, very good leader.”
White told him: “Firstly you weren’t going to get the sack tonight.
“Why? Because I need you to continue down the road of 'Hell’s Kitchen'.
“I would never desert any ship even if it was sinking – it’s not my nature.”
The celebrity chef eventually said: “I think in life you have to respect a good man’s decision and if that’s what you truly feel Bruce then I respect your wishes.”
Danielle Bux and Niomi Daley burst into tears.
The celebrities gathered round the former Liverpool goalie for a hug.
As the celebrities left, White said: “You’ve made my job easy for the last eight days. You walk out of 'Hell’s Kitchen' a winner Bruce.
“It hurts me, it saddens me to see you go.”