Fiona Phillips wasn't mentally well enough for Strictly Come Dancing
4 May 2017 - 11:00 AM

Fiona Phillips wasn't mentally well enough for Strictly Come Dancing

Fiona Phillips wasn't "mentally well enough" to do "Strictly Come Dancing" in 2005.

The former "GMTV" host has admitted she felt "pressured" to take part in the ballroom and latin series 12 years ago in order to boost her career but, on reflection, shouldn't have done so because she was battling with chronic stress due to the fact her mother and father were fighting Alzheimer's, she was trying to train for the programme, care for her then-two young children and present the early morning show every day.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, she said: "Eamonn [Holmes, her co-host] always used to say, "You are clinically depressed" and I was saying, "I'm not". I really was. I didn't seek help - I didn't have time. I kept telling myself I would be fine and kept blaming myself, saying, "Why can't you manage all this?"

"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?

"I remember that as a really traumatic episode. It's an amazing privilege to do it but I just had too much going on in my head. I was a mess during that."

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The 56-year-old journalist wises she had spoken to the producers about her struggle or her dance partner Brendan Cole, who was "quite a hard task master", but she felt too embarrassed and pushed on until she was voted out in week four of the show.

She added: "Stress is good for us, it's a primal, animal thing to make us fight dangers. It can enhance your performance. But when you're permanently stressed out and you go to bed and your stomach is still churning, when you can't sleep and every time you breathe you have that churning stomach thing going on, that's chronic stress. When that keeps happening it can lead to anxiety and depression."

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