‘I advise friends not to do it’ Rachel Riley slams 'mental pressure' of being on Strictly

Rachel Riley, 35, has revealed how her husband Pasha Kovalev, 41, still struggles to talk about Caroline Flack’s tragic death, after the former Love Island host took her own life last year. The X Factor host won Strictly Come Dancing with dance partner Pasha back in 2014, and according to Rachel being in the competition can “mess with people’s heads”.

Speaking on Caroline’s legacy, she said: “Caroline Flack’s was such a tragic story; even Pasha struggles to talk about it.

 “I would prefer not to, apart from to say, I read some of her interviews where she discussed her depression after Strictly and, I agree, it does mess with your head,” she added.

Rachel who appeared on the show where she met her now-husband in 2013, has admitted even warning her friends against appearing in the dance contest.

She continued: “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. 

“I don’t think there is enough awareness of the psychological effects it has. I am a maths geek, not a performer. 

“Having ten million viewers sitting in judgment of you, not to mention the actual judges? You need to be very mentally strong not to let that affect your self-worth,” the Countdown host added to The Times.

During a candid chat with MailOnline, the Countdown star also revealed she avoids watching the BBC show after undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to recover from her stint.

“It still terrifies me. I’ve had CBT since because it was so terrifying,” she explained. 

“I just avoid it to be honest.”

Despite this, Rachel still enjoys having a little dance every now and then – particularly when on holiday. 

“I love dancing; when Pasha and I go on holiday we always find a salsa club whether we were in Indonesia or LA or Cannes, wherever we were in the world,” she added.

Rachel and Pasha have been married since 2019 when they wed during a Las Vegas ceremony in June, before welcoming their first child together the same year.

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