By Tom Horton, PA
Former Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole has said it was “heartbreaking” to read his celebrity ex-partner Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s account of appearing on the show.
In an extract from her book Spinning Plates, which was previously published in the Mail on Sunday, the singer said she had to pay “quite a heavy price” for starring in the programme because it caused problems in her marriage.
She said her husband, Richard Jones, got counselling while she was taking part in the competition and he “became unusually insistent on knowing where I was all the time”.
Ellis-Bextor, who has five children with Jones, said there was a “slight weirdness in forming a new ‘couple’ when you’re both two married strangers”.
Speaking to ITV’s Loose Women after being confirmed as a participant in celebrity skating show Dancing On Ice, Cole said the extract from Ellis-Bextor’s book was an “interesting read”.
“She didn’t let on anything that was going on behind closed doors, even though I had a great relationship with her, a very close relationship with her and Richard,” Cole said.
He said her comments were “heartbreaking”, adding: “I’m just so proud of Sophie for having the bravery to speak out like she did, and to Richard as well.”
Cole also revealed that Ellis-Bextor and actress Kelly Brook were the easiest celebrities to train out of those he had worked with on Strictly.
Singer Lulu was “unquestionably” the most difficult to work with, he added.
Cole said he is “so excited” about joining Dancing On Ice, but added that he is not a natural at skating.
“I’ve had one go and I’m a fairly confident person – I like to think I’m going to be good at whatever I put my hand – or feet to,” he said.
“I was thinking ‘I reckon I’ll be fine’, but I was terrible.
“I was a bit wobbly, I was hoping I was going to be better than I was, but I have time to learn.
“I’m going to embrace the whole experience and I’m very excited.”
He said he thinks he has an “advantage” because of his dancing experience, adding: “I’ll hopefully pick up choreography quite easily.”
Cole has reportedly deleted social media content promoting freedom of choice on whether to have a coronavirus vaccination.
A spokeswoman for Dancing On Ice said: “We have stringent protocols in place to ensure the health and safety of all our contributors and staff, which are routinely monitored and updated to reflect the current guidelines.”
Love Island star Liberty Poole, former S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens, singer and dancer Regan Gascoigne, former England rugby player Ben Foden, Paralympian Stef Reid, Happy Mondays musician Bez and Coronation Street actress Sally Dynevor have also been confirmed for the forthcoming series of Dancing On Ice.
ITV previously confirmed that John Barrowman will not be returning as a judge.