Alexandra Burke has revealed she underwent therapy to help her put the negativity she experienced during her time on Strictly Come Dancing behind her.
The former X Factor winner made it to the final of Strictly in 2017, but while competing on the BBC dance show, she was the subject of a string of disparaging stories about her in the press.
As a result of these articles – which she previously branded “negative and untrue” – Alexandra faced abuse on social media, and has told The Guardian in a new interview the bad press from four years ago has continued to affect people’s perception of her.
“I’ve had it so many times where I’ve walked into a supermarket and people talk to me. The last bit of the conversation is: ‘Gosh, you’re not a bitch, are you? We read that you’re vile’,” she told the newspaper.
Chris Jackson via Getty ImagesAlexandra Burke
At the height of the media scrutiny she faced on Strictly, Alexandra tweeted The Sun’s former showbiz editor Dan Wootton directly about the stories, noting in The Guardian’s interview that he has since apologised to her.
“I’ve known Dan for years. He’s not a terrible person,” Alexandra insisted. “He explained that, unfortunately, there were people inside the Strictly show who were giving him the stories.
“To this day, I still don’t understand where the stories came from because they were absolutely lies.”
She added: “I loved my time on the Strictly dance floor but I’ve had to put the rest of that period behind me and I’ve had to have therapy to do that. I just really encourage people not to believe everything they read.”
HuffPost UK has contacted the BBC for comment.
Dave J Hogan via Getty ImagesAlexandra on the Strictly live tour in 2018
Alexandra told HuffPost UK in 2018 that she’d initially stayed quiet on the press’ treatment of her during her Strictly stint in the hopes the stories would “just go away”.
However, she eventually felt compelled to speak out after an article was published in The Sun about alleged diva behaviour backstage, which she has repeatedly refuted.
“It was just a line that I read where a certain journalist said, ‘the British public just don’t like you’,” Alexandra said at the time. “I’ll be honest with you, I burst into tears when I read that. And that’s when I said to my brother, ‘it’s not worth my happiness anymore’.
“It was an article [claiming] I was apparently throwing chairs in the green room at Strictly, doing this and doing that because I was in the bottom two.
“Long story short, I wasn’t even in the green room [at the time of the supposed events], I was actually in physio, and nobody knew that I had a very serious injury that I still performed on. I went from physio straight home to rest, and the next thing I read this article where I was apparently throwing chairs! And I was like, ‘where’s that come from?’ It was ridiculous!”
Strictly Come Dancing is set to return for its 19th series later this year, with McFly singer Tom Fletcher, TV presenter AJ Ododu and Bake Off favourite John Whaite among those competing this time around.
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