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Ex-Strictly star Rachel Riley says she needed therapy after show left her battling PTSD

Rachel Riley appeared in the 2013 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and was paired with pro dancer Pasha Kovalev. The couple were voted out in week six, but went on to marry and are currently expecting their second child

Rachel Riley says Strictly Come Dancing left her with long-term mental health problems

Rachel Riley says Strictly Come Dancing left her with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and she had to have therapy after competing in the hit BBC One show.

The 35-year-old Countdown maths whizz appeared in the 2013 of Strictly, where she was partnered with pro dancer Pasha Kovalev, but after impressing the judges and viewers with their performances, they were voted off in week six.

The couple went on to marry following their stint on the show, and are now expecting their second child together.

However in a new interview, Rachel confessed there are no fond memories from her time on the dancing competition.

She admitted she can’t even bring herself to watch the Saturday night show because she developed PTSD after taking part eight years ago, and needed cognitive behavioural therapy.

Rachel Riley was paired with pro dancer Pasha Kovalev back in 2013

Rachel said the show caused significant mental health problems

“If I heard the theme music, I’d start reliving the experience. It was scary and unnerving, so my way of dealing with it is to avoid watching,” she told OK!

But she was thankful to the show for bringing her and Pasha together, and said when it was announced she would be partnered with him “all the dancers and the crew congratulated me because everybody loved him”.

“He’s brilliant, and when you need a bit of support, that’s when you know you;’re with the right person,” Rachel added.

Rachel and Pasha were voted out in week six



The TV star has previously discussed the effect Strictly had on her mental health, and earlier this month, she warned those taking part this year about the possible long-term issues they may have after appearing on the show.

“I advise friends not to go on the show and I know people who have dropped out of it due to the mental pressures involved,” she told The Times.

The pregnant mother-of-one said she was just a “maths geek” who wasn’t equipped to deal with the fame that comes with starring on the hugely successful show.

Rachel said she needed therapy after starring on the BBC One show

Rachel is now expecting her second child with husband Pasha



“I don’t think there is enough awareness of the psychological effects it has. I am a maths geek, not a performer,” she said, noting that contestants have to be “mentally strong” so they can withstand the criticism from the judges.

She also briefly touched upon Caroline Flack’s death in the interview, as the late TV presenter was paired with Pasha in 2014, and the couple went on to win the coveted glitterball trophy.

Rachel said husband Pasha still struggles to talk about her death, but she had read interviews with Caroline “where she discussed her depression after Strictly and, I agree, it does mess with your head”.

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