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Strictly star Rhys Stephenson addresses Tess Daly’s ‘toddler’ comments

It was an emotional dance for Rhys

Strictly star Rhys Stephenson has broken his silence on claims that host Tess Daly spoke to him “like a toddler” on last Saturday’s show.

Rhys became tearful after his Waltz to Light Up My Life by Whitney Houston with his partner Nancy Xu.

But viewers criticised Tess after she said to Rhys: “Are you having a little cry?”

Now Rhys has told Lorraine Kelly what he thought of the host’s comments.

rhys strictly
Rhys cried on Strictly last week after his Waltz (Credit: BBC)

What did Strictly star Rhys say about Tess Daly?

Lorraine said of the dance: “That was so beautiful – the dance, the choreography, the setting, everything.

“I’m not surprised you were emotional. It really has been a rollercoaster for you. You’ve been right up there and in the bottom two.”

Read more: ‘Biggest regret’ of Strictly host Tess Daly after she lost her beloved dad Vivian

Rhys replied: “It has been a real volatile journey. There have been highs and real low moments but that’s life and that’s what makes the show so watchable and exciting.

“I’m grateful for it because I learn a lot from it.”

He added: “That moment on Saturday was probably weeks in the making. I feel like I must’ve been holding in so much emotion that I didn’t realise and it spewed out of me. I feel a lot lighter now.”

rhys strictly
Strictly host Tess came under fire from viewers for her comments (Credit: BBC)

Tess ‘wanted to be a comfort’

Lorraine then asked about Tess’ comments.

“People were saying Tess treated you like a baby, what do you think?” she asked.

“No, you know what, I don’t,” Rhys said.

Read more: Strictly fans angry as Tess Daly points out Rhys Stephenson’s mistake 

“I think Tess, no one had seen me like that and Tess just wanted to really be a comfort to me in that moment.

“I think some people might have read it wrong but I totally knew where she was coming from and I appreciated that.”

He added: “For me it was no problem.”

rhys strictly
The comments came after Rhys and Nancy danced (Credit: BBC)

What did viewers say about Tess’ comments?

Following their performance, Rhys and pro partner Nancy Xu hugged as he became emotional.

Tess spotted the emotional moment, and could be heard saying: “Come on, darling. Aww Rhys!

“Come over sweetheart. Are you crying hunny? Are you having a little cry?”

Viewers were quick to slam the Strictly host, accusing her of speaking to Rhys like a child.

One said: “Omg Tess speaking to Rhys like he was a toddler. That was so cringey.”

Another wrote: “That was uncomfortable to witness. Why did Tess feel the need to speak to Rhys like he was six years old? He’s an grown man, not her infant child.”

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