12/04/2018 09:57 BST | Updated 12/04/2018 16:54 BST

Laura Whitmore Says ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Experience ‘Broke’ Her And Left Her In Tears Every Day

'It affected me deeply.'

Laura Whitmore has admitted her time on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ was far from a happy one.

The TV presenter and model took part in the BBC dance show in 2016, but says the experience left her “broken” and in tears every day.

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Laura Whitmore appeared on 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2016

In a blog on HuffPost UK, Laura says that despite being a huge fan of the show, her mental and physical health was affected by her experience of taking part.

She says: “I’m still not ready to talk in depth about my experience on the show. I love dancing - I topped the leaderboard twice – but before it even began, I was thrown into the lion’s den and into the middle of someone’s break-up that had nothing to do with me.

“Once again, I was a ‘rumoured love interest’.”

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Laura with her 'Strictly' dance partner, Giovanni Pernice.

Unfounded rumours of a romance between Laura and professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, who she had been partnered with on ‘Strictly’, began soon after she joined the show.

Giovanni had recently split from his girlfriend - and friend of Laura’s - Georgia May Foote, who he had met on the previous year’s series of the dance show.

Laura says being painted by some as “blonde bait in a sequinned dress” affected her deeply.

“I cried every day,” she says. “And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end.

“To the outside world I tried to suck it up and smile, and I did that to the best of my ability, but it affected me deeply. My friends and family knew that I was struggling. And they were there for me. The media, however, saw me as blonde bait in a sequinned dress.”

HuffPost UK have contacted reps for Giovanni for comment.

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In the same blog, the 32-year-old star calls out the media for their “trivialisation” of women, calling for them to stop being treated as “playthings”.

She says: “As women, we need to start celebrating ourselves and asserting our true worth. We are not meat. We are beautiful, complex creatures. We should not have to feel like we are constantly on guard.

“I am lucky to have such strong and inspiring women in my life, as well as men, who appreciate and respect women. I’ve always found it easier to speak up for others – but I now also acknowledge the importance of speaking up for myself.”

Read Laura’s blog in full here.