04/05/2017 08:38 BST | Updated 04/05/2017 18:22 BST

Fiona Phillips 'Felt Pressured' Into Doing 'Strictly Come Dancing', Despite Not Being 'Mentally Well Enough'

"My agent said, ‘If you don’t do it now you can say goodbye to big gigs at the BBC’."

Fiona Phillips has opened up about her time on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, explaining that she was struggling with her mental health while she took part in the show.

The broadcaster took part in the third series of ‘Strictly’ way back in 2005, eventually finishing in ninth place, alongside Brendan Cole.

She’s now opened up about the fact that she was “clinically depressed” while taking part in the show, but felt pressured to take part in the show by her agent, even though she didn’t feel well enough.

Luca Teuchmann via Getty Images
Fiona Phillips

Speaking to The Mirror, Fiona revealed: “I was asked to do the first series and the second. Then my agent said, ‘If you don’t do it now you can say goodbye to big gigs at the BBC’, and what have you. There was real pressure.

“So I did it but I wasn’t well enough to be doing it, mentally. I was doing ‘GMTV’ and had the children and my parents, and I threw that into the mix and I just felt this enormous guilt. Why am I doing this when my mum’s in a home?”

During her interview with the newspaper, Fiona said she regrets not opening up to the ‘Strictly’ team or her professional partner, Brendan Cole, prior to their elimination in week four.

She said: “I remember that as a really traumatic episode. It’s an amazing privilege to do [‘Strictly’] but I just had too much going on in my head. I was a mess during that, I was on the verge of tears mainly.”

Fiona and Brendan in 2005

Fiona says she credits practising mindfulness with getting on top of her stress-related issues, explaining: “It is about living in the moment which is really good for stress.

“Not looking back to the past and not looking to the future. I’m learning just to concentrate on deep breathing, trying to centre myself in the moment and calmly do what I have to do first.”

A documentary fronted by Fiona, ‘The Truth About Stress’, will air on BBC One tonight (4 May) at 9pm.

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