Professional skater Matt Evers has been skating for over 20 years, but nothing quite prepared him for his Dancing On Ice experience with The Only Way Is Essex star Gemma Collins last year.
Collins made many headlines for her diva-like behaviour while on the show, but Matt revealed on White Wine Question Time that she has since apologised to him.
“At the end of the day she's apologised for some of her behaviour,” Evers told podcast host Kate Thornton. “She came to LA after the series [of Dancing On Ice] and we shot her TV series. She apologised for her behaviour in regard to not showing up on time, cancelling at the last minute... Different things.”
Evers went on to say that he experienced one of his most humiliating career moments while skating with Collins. The pair, who were in the bottom two, had to perform a skate-off, however, they didn’t have anything prepared.
“Long story short, we had never rehearsed the skate-off because she never really wanted to do it,” Evers said.
“I think we skated second out of the two couples – she [Collins] looked at me and she was like, ‘What am I going to do?’ I'm like, ‘Well, I asked you this eight or six weeks ago. We needed a skate-off. What are you going to do now?’ And she went, ‘I'm just going to skate around and wave, babes.’”
Evers went on to to say he was convinced he was going to lose his job as he hadn’t managed to prepare Collins for the skate-off. While things started off OK, they went a bit haywire when Gemma decided to head for the exit.
Evers said of that terrifying live TV moment: “She’s backing up – and I'm thinking, ‘Where is she going? Oh my God, she's actually going through the tunnel.’ The tunnel is the way out of the studio and there's still a minute left of this routine and she's just waving at me and I looked at her and I'm saying ‘Don't you ‘effin think about it!’ If you watch it back and you can actually watch and read my lips.
“Needless to say, I skated over to her quite quickly, grabbed her, pulled her out, and we just skated around. It was quite humiliating. Not a career highlight for sure.”
Thornton asked Evers if the famous fall, where Collins face-planted towards the end of her Celine Dion routine, which resulted in the pair getting their highest scores of the series, was planned.
“You cannot fake a fall like that fall,” exclaimed Evers. “She did a proper belly flop. If she would have planned it, you would have seen her hands come out to try and stop herself.
“I remember her going down and thinking, ‘Oh my God, she's hit her face’ and all I could see was teeth on the ice. That's part of the reason I skated around the front of her… First off, to try and stop her from hitting the ball or the edge of the ice and then to see what her face looked like when she picked her head up. I wasn't even sure if she was going to pick her head up.”
This year, Evers is making TV history by being paired in the first ever same-sex couple on the show with Steps singer Ian “H” Watkins. Dancing On Ice begins on on ITV on Sunday 5 January.