Natalie Cassidy says she was humiliated by Strictly Come Dancing producers because of her weight while a contestant on the BBC show.
The EastEnders star, who plays Sonia Fowler in the BBC soap, has broken her silence about her experience more than a decade after she competed on the ballroom show.
Cassidy — who was partnered with professional dancer Vincent Simone when she competed in 2009 — said she felt ridiculed when producers asked her to perform a move that was usually done by male dancers.
“I was about 4 stone bigger than I am now. Vincenzo was quite little," she told The Sun. “And I remember one week, it was like ‘oh, we’re going to do this dance, but you’re going to pick up Vincent.
“I think about it now and think, ‘oh that was out of order. That was a bit out of order to me.’ You couldn’t do that now.”
However, the 38-year-old, who ended up placing fifth on the show, said despite that she enjoyed the "glitz and glamour" of the show and would take part again, and declared: "[It was the] best job outside of EastEnders. We had the best time and I loved it."
Since her appearance, the mother-of-two who released her own fitness DVD — Natalie Cassidy’s Then and Now Workout — in 2007, has managed to maintain a steady weight.
The former yo-yo dieter, who has been on EastEnders since the early 1990s, credits running and a total ban on junk food as the key. Additionally, she decided to ditch alcohol as much as she could.
Healthy home-made meals are now commonplace for the actor.
Often sharing recipes to her Instagram, she previously posted a snap of herself holding a bowl of healthy stuffed peppers.
She said: “I am not a chef, I don’t claim to be a brilliant cook and I am not going on Masterchef (although I’d love to!) but I do love cooking. I love recipe books and recipe shows.”
Back in 2020 she lost a staggering three stone in weight and has managed to keep it off. After dropping from a size 16 to size 8, she told The Sun she felt "much more confident and comfortable. I have learnt how to eat and how to be comfortable with who I am.. I cut out rubbish. I cut down on alcohol too, even though I love white wine."
Watch: EastEnders legend Sid Owen on becoming a dad at 50