Appearing on Heart Breakfast today, Gardiner insisted that he was referring to Collin’s nickname ‘GC’, which he claimed reminds him of a ‘white goods appliance’.
The radio show’s host Lucy Horobin asked Gardiner: “So you’re in no way suggesting a correlation between a refrigerator and Gemma’s size? Because that’s how it’s being taken.”
“Oh God, no!” exclaimed Gardiner. “It was really to do with the GC part of it, because she has this alter ego – you know, self-proclaimed GC and it’s really interesting. And every time I hear it, it makes me think of a white goods appliance.
“I was trying to make light of it really and just have some levity with it and because what I don’t like to do is constantly make this anything that it isn’t.
“If people are taking it that way, look I’m really sorry – it was just a way of just diffusing any tension and making light of the situation and the GC part of her persona.’
Asked by co-host Jamie Theakston if he’d make it up to Collins if she appears for the Dancing on Ice final, Gardiner replied: “Sure. If she needs a hug, I’ll give her a hug.”
Gardiner’s apology comes after he attempted to explain his comments on social media, after Collins accused him of ‘fat-shaming’ her and she threatened to drop out of Sunday’s live final.
He wrote on Twitter: “I was not calling Gemma a refrigerator it was meant as a light hearted joke when Phillip said the “GC” which sounds like a white goods brand. What has happened to having a SoH?” [sense of humour].