Most celebs who appear on Strictly Come Dancing gush about their wonderful experience and how they made a life-long friend in their professional partner.
But Laura Whitmore has admitted this was not the case for her after she took to the BBC dance floor in the 2016 series.
The Survival Of The Fittest presenter said it wasn’t the experience she’d hoped it would be as she felt “extremely uncomfortable” at being partnered with Giovanni Pernice.
“I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show. I love dancing – I topped the leaderboard twice – but before it even began, I was thrown into the lion’s den and into the middle of someone’s break-up that had nothing to do with me. Once again, I was a ‘rumoured love interest’,” Laura writes in the Huffington Post.
When the 2016 series started, Giovanni had recently split with actress Georgia May Foote, who he’d met when they’d danced together on the previous year’s show.
His newly single status meant he and Laura, 32, were immediately plagued by rumours of a romance.
She said she felt like she was portrayed as “blonde bait in a sequinned dress”.
She added: “I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with – and in the end I felt broken. I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.
“To the outside world I tried to suck it up and smile, and I did that to the best of my ability, but it affected me deeply. My friends and family knew that I was struggling.”
Laura became the seventh celeb to be voted off that series, and by that time, she and Giovanni were having to fend off rumours they didn’t get on rather than those of romance.
The presenter admitted to You magazine at the time that all the fuss around her relationship with her dance partner had affected her performances.
“It has definitely affected my dancing. I’m so self-conscious, I haven’t allowed myself to develop a proper partnership with Giovanni. He’s aware of it and so am I but I keeping holding back,” she said.
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