laura whitmore giovanni pernice strictly 2016

Laura Whitmore felt 'extremely uncomfortable' with Strictly's Giovanni Pernice

The TV star also revealed she "cried every day" while on the BBC dance show

Gemma Strong

Laura Whitmore has spoken about her experience of appearing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016, admitting that she "cried every day" while on the BBC dance show. The 32-year-old was partnered up with Giovanni Pernice, who had split from Laura's friend, Georgia May Foote, prior to the series, and she said she inadvertently ended up in "the middle of someone's break-up". Writing for the Huffington Post, Laura explained: "I'm still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show. I love dancing – I topped the leader board twice – but before it even begins, 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'.

Laura Whitmore was partnered with Giovanni Pernice for the 2016 series of Strictly

"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." She continued: "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."

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In the same blog, Laura detailed incidents of sexual assault and harassment she has been subjected to over the years, and said she had been inspired to speak out following the rise of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp. "As women, we need to start celebrating ourselves and asserting our true worth," she added. "We are not meat. We are beautiful, complex creatures."

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