I'm A Celeb returner Shaun Ryder has revealed he was once 'banned from America for 10 years'. Here's the story of why.
The Happy Mondays star casually dropped the surprising fact about his past during the most recent episode of I'm A Celebrity: South Africa last night (26 April), when he was paired with his not-so-best friend Gillian McKeith to take on a challenge.
During the task, where they had to match countries to phone codes, Ryder reminisced about his touring days, saying: “You don’t remember lots of it because it’s all sex, drugs and rocky road. I got banned from the United States for ten years and I had to go and settle in Cuba."
It's definitely the kind of fact that needs more explanation, but since Ryder didn't offer it up himself, here's what you need to know.
After working together in Happy Mondays, Ryder joined his former bandmate Mark Berry, better known as Bez, in the rock band Black Grape, formed in 1993.
The pair toured the world, and at one point found themselves in New York's Central Park, smoking weed before one of their gigs.
Nowadays, when adults can possess up to three ounces of cannabis and smoke it wherever you're allowed to smoke tobacco in New York, this wouldn't have been as much of an issue.
Back then, however, things weren't quite as chilled.
In an interview with The Guardian, Berry explained that the band was kicked out of the US by the immigration authorities.
"One minute we were sitting in Central Park taking in the smoke with a beautiful view of the twin towers – the next we were surrounded by police. I found the whole thing quite funny," he recalled.
Forced to leave the land of the free, the band hopped on one of the first planes flying to Cuba.
"Cuba had just opened up to the west again... and it was like walking through a war zone," Berry recalled.
"In the end we were banned from America, so the press had to come to Cuba to interview us.
"The journalists were all sh**ting themselves in fear of what might happen to them, but everyone in Cuba was so lovely to us."
Berry didn't specify what year all of this went down, but the ban appeared to wreak havoc on his plans for years to come.
In 2010, Black Grape were scheduled to perform in America for the first time in 15 years. While Ryder's ban appeared to have come to an end at that point, Berry was refused a visa.
Ryder's wild times didn't end in Cuba, as he went on to recall on I'm A Celeb how he also spent a lot of time in Mexico DJing 'for cartels'.
I think we'd need a whole other deep dive for that one.