Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Brendan Cole has admitted he found it “heartbreaking” to hear Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s recent account of appearing on the show.
Brendan and Sophie were paired together on Strictly back in 2013, where they made it through to the final of the show.
In an extract from her upcoming autobiography, the Murder On The Dancefloor singer admitted she’d paid “quit a heavy price” for appearing on the show, as it put a strain on her marriage.
Sophie – who is married to musician Richard Jones – claimed: “[He] became unusually insistent on knowing where I was all the time. If I didn’t reply to a text, he’d spiral.
“Supporting me in all that I do usually came so easily to him, but with Strictly I think he was just waiting for it to end. He’d message me all day when I was rehearsing, extra keen to know my schedule.
“We would argue when I was home about how distracted I was and about whether I’d get through to the next week.
“He just felt as if I might slip into a new life that left our family behind. I had no such desire, but was too spent at the end of the day to give the reassurance he needed. I think the only real reassurance could come with the show finishing.”
Asked what he thought about his former dance partner’s remarks during an appearance on Wednesday’s Loose Women, Brendan said: “She didn’t let on that anything that was going on behind closed doors, even though I had a great relationship with her, a very close relationship with her and Richard.
“I’m just so proud of Sophie for having the bravery to speak out like she did, and to Richard as well.”
In her book, Sophie said she and Richard “began seeing a counsellor after I’d been in the show a month or so, and it really helped”, adding: “We never doubted our love for each other but I think Richard worried that I just wouldn’t want our life again.”
She also praised Brendan as a “complete gentleman throughout”, with the New Zealand-born dancer returning the compliment on Loose Women, saying she and Kelly Brook were his favourite celebrities to dance with.
He also named Lulu as “unquestionably” his most difficult partner, having previously made no secret of the fact that he and the singer didn’t get on during their time on Strictly.
Brendan was not invited to return to Strictly when it came back in 2018, and later made an ill-fated appearance on the celebrity edition of The X Factor.
On Wednesday, he was announced as the eighth celebrity taking part in next year’s Dancing On Ice, following in the footsteps of fellow Strictly alum James Jordan, who won the show in 2019.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.