With all the lurid tales of celebrity love triangles and extra-curricular canoodling surrounding Laura Whitmore’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing this year, you could forgive her for feeling a little peeved.
But it’s actually a whole lot worse than that. The Irish TV presenter reckons the unstoppable tsunami of gossip is literally putting her off her stride.
“It has definitely affected my dancing,” 31-year-old Laura told The Mail on Sunday. “I’m so self-conscious I haven’t allowed myself to develop a proper partnership with Giovanni (Pernice.)
“He’s aware of it and so am I but I keep holding back. We were the first out on the floor on the first show and I was so nervous I couldn’t feel my legs. But I was fully aware I wasn’t letting myself go because of all the rumours about us.
“I’ve got to ignore all the stories and just be myself with Giovanni, but it hasn’t been easy.”
Just in case you’re one of the dozen or so people who watch the X Factor on the other side, Laura’s dance partner Giovanni is the ex-boyfriend of Georgia May Foote – who hooked up with the Italian ballroom star during her stint on the show last year.
To make things worse, Laura and Georgia are pals. Or at least they were… but Laura admits any talk of falling out is nonsense and the pair are as close as ever. Although, yes – Georgia DID unfollow her on Instagram the other day.
“She did,” shrugs Laura. “But she’s following me again now. It’s complicated. I understand that she doesn’t want to see pictures of her ex. But everything gets blown out of all proportion.”
“My relationship with Giovanni is completely professional,” she continued. “That’s all I ever want it to be. To be honest he’s far too young for me and even though I’m single I’m still going on a couple of dates when I have the time – but not with Giovanni.
“I wanted to do Strictly because it’s a family audience – there will be a lot of people who don’t know anything about me. And then this whole thing with Giovanni blew up in my face. I couldn’t believe it could all go so wrong, so fast.”