Ashley Roberts has broken down in tears on the eve of the Strictly Come Dancing final.
The former Pussycat Dolls star began to cry after being shown a series of video messages from her mother and friends on Strictly spin-off It Takes Two.
In a pre-recorded message, Roberts’s mother Peggy said the show had helped her daughter deal with the death of her father, who took his own life earlier this year.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) December 13, 2018
She said: “Strictly came at a time for Ashley when she really needed it. Her dad would have loved this. He would have loved watching her dance. This is where she needs to be. She needs to be on stage.
“Strictly brought back her spirit. There are no words for how proud I am of that child.”
Roberts’s friend Kimberly also praised her for her “resilience”, adding that she had been brought to tears by Roberts’s contemporary couple’s choice dance in memory of her father.
She said: “Ashley is full of resilience but let me tell you, this has been a year that has put that to the test. When I saw her doing her first dance I knew she was in the right place.
“Knowing everything she has been through with her father this year. Knowing that, her contemporary piece left me in tears.”
After the video had finished, a visibly shaken Roberts said how grateful she was to have got to the final.
She said: “I’m just so grateful. I really am. I know that sounds cheesy and it’s a hallmark answer but it’s true. This has been a gift to me to remind my soul why I love dancing and being out there.
“To learn these skills and have such an amazing partner and friend, and just to everyone out there, the messages of love and support. They’re absolutely beautiful and appreciated.”
It Takes Two host Zoe Ball waved a box of tissues, saying: “We’re going to need a bigger box.”
Ball later added: “We are absolutely wrecks up in here!”
The Strictly Come Dancing final begins at 6.30pm on Saturday.