The programme host made the comments in the wardrobe this morning before reading Nick his letter from home and telling him that he was her top housemate as part of her Tree of Temptation task.
"You've been kind of mellow and just sitting back," Davina told Nick. "Sitting on the periphery... you're one of my favourites.
"Because you were such a big name when you came into the house, it was like you had to unpick all that of negativity around you before anyone would let you be yourself."
Nick agreed that it would have been "easy to play into the Nasty Nick role" but added that "people change in ten years".
Of his first stint in the house on its first series, Davina said that Nick treated it like a game and added: "You were in it to win it.
"In America they would have applauded you for your evil tactics, over in polite Britain it didn't get that. I'm sure you were pretty shocked at the time the furore that it caused."