TV presenter Laura Whitmore has opened up in a bravely candid blog post recently, detailing why her stint on Strictly Come Dancing left her "broken".
The 32-year-old starred on the show in 2016, but was the sixth contestant to be voted off the show in week seven.
And while it appeared that Laura was enjoying the glitz and glamour of the popular show, she’s confessed in her article for the Huffington Post that the media scrutiny that came with it left her crying “every day”.
She wrote, ‘I didn’t think the media storm could get any worse than that incident [an alleged affair with a Hollywood actor] – and then I signed up for a show that I had loved so much and grew up with, Strictly Come Dancing.’
She then went on to detail how landing herself in the middle of a break-up caused a horrible amount of media attention. Laura was paired with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, who, at the time, had just split with Georgia May Foote, his previous partner on the show.
And it’s likely that the experience was made even more difficult as she and Georgia were friends.
Laura said, ‘I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show. I love dancing – I topped the leaderboard twice – but before it even began, I was thrown into the lion’s den and into the middle of someone’s break-up that had nothing to do with me. Once again, I was a ‘rumoured love interest’.’
The ITV host also revealed that as such, she was ‘extremely uncomfortable’ with her dance partner – which left her struggling every day.
She admitted, ‘I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with – and in the end I felt broken.
‘I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end. To the outside world I tried to suck it up and smile, and I did that to the best of my ability, but it affected me deeply.
‘My friends and family knew that I was struggling. And they were there for me.
‘The media, however, saw me as blonde bait in a sequinned dress.’
Laura continue, to berate the sexualisation of women in the media.
She wrote, ‘How have we sunk to this level, where women are routinely reduced, and demeaned, in this way? It is impossible to understand, when everything about it is so wrong, so misguided and so vile.’
Referring to the recent Time’s Up movement, Laura, also discussed her horrifying experience of sexual assault, when a stranger touched her inappropriately in a club.
She also went on to describe her disappointment in always being described as someone’s ‘love interest’ in the media – and not being recognised for her own work.
Laura wrote, ‘I’ve spent most of my career, in the little limelight I’ve experienced, reading about my so-called dalliances with men. Pretty much every man I’ve ever crossed paths with, I may as well have been photographed straddling – from friends, to work colleagues, to actual boyfriends.
‘This is supposed to be a measure of my worth? Not the fact that I have a first class honours degree in journalism, that I was selected as an MTV host ahead of thousands of applicants, that I have worked bloody hard in this industry and made a successful career, bought a house, supported my family, been a faithful girlfriend and lived a life as best I could, trying to be a kind person and standing up for others when I could?’