ALEXANDRA BURKE has revealed that she and her family are ‘mentally scarred’ by the online flak she took during her time on Strictly Come Dancing.
The former X Factor champ — who is gearing up for the Strictly live tour, which starts next week — was accused of being ‘fake’ when she cried on the dancing show, while reports emerged that she was a ‘diva’ behind the scenes.
And now Alexandra has admitted it was a ‘rough ride’ — but ultimately rewarding as she felt ‘a lot of love’ from the Strictly audience.
‘I had a really rough ride,’ she said. ‘I think it got to maybe week 11 and I spoke out and that is when it kind of stopped — not stopped totally, but a lot of people stuck up for me.
‘A lot of love was there before, but it just came through so much after I finally said it was damaging. And I’m not going to lie, I don’t miss that part of it at all.
‘That part of it mentally scarred me and still has and it’s done that to my family as well, but I think we are strong, we will bounce back already.’
Alexandra was already struggling with the loss of her mother, Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell, shortly before the show began and said her Christmas was a low-key affair as a result.
‘We had an OK Christmas, an OK New Year and it’s about moving forward and not allowing the negative to get in the way, because Strictly is such a joyous show, with so much love and it taught me so much,’ she said, adding her admiration for dance partner Gorka Marquez.
‘To be able to dance with Gorka, that I could only dream of, that part of it totally outweighs the negative,’ she said.
Alexandra said her new fiancé Joshua Ginnelly will be joining her on the road when the tour starts in Birmingham on January 19. But one person she’s ‘gutted’ will be absent is Shirley Ballas, whom she describes as ‘a dream’.
The new judge wasn’t to all viewers’ tastes after she took over from much-loved Len Goodman, but Alexandra is ‘praying’ she returns for the next series.
‘She had better be back, she’s a dream. I love her, I’m a massive fan of her. I Googled that woman so much and studied her on YouTube just to see what she was like in competitions when she was younger, she was insane and still is,’ said Alexandra.
‘I pray that she comes back, I think she enjoyed the experience and she got a good reaction from the public. Get her back!’
Information on the tour is available at strictlycomedancinglive.com