Rachel Riley warns friends not to do Strictly as it can mess with your head

Rachel Riley has revealed she warns her friends not to go on Strictly because it can "mess with your head".

The Countdown beauty went on the BBC ballroom contest in 2013, where she was paired with her now husband Pasha Kovalev.

And she told The Times that there isn't enough awareness of how being a Strictly contestant can have an impact on your mental health, saying you have to be really strong to cope with being judged week in week out.

She also talked about another of her hubby's former celebrity dance partners – late Love Island host Caroline Flack, who took her own life last year.

"Caroline Flack's was such a tragic story; even Pasha struggles to talk about it," said Rachel.

"I would prefer not to [talk about it] apart from to say, I read some of her interviews where she discussed her depression after Strictly and, I agree, it does mess with your head."

She went on: "I advise friends not to go on the show and I know people who have dropped out of it due to the mental pressures involved."

Rachel, 35, said she doesn't think there is "enough awareness of the psychological effects it has".

The star pointed out that she's known for her maths ability rather than for being a performer.

She said people need to be "very mentally strong" to handle being critiqued by the judges and millions of viewers week after week.

Rachel is currently expecting her second baby with Pasha, and the dancer recently shared that he was trying to protect his wife from stress during her pregnancy.

He told OK! magazine that being trolled online has a big impact on Rachel so he has suggested that she keep any online interaction to the "bare minimum" right now.

"I'm trying to support her to do less of it whilst she's pregnant," he said.

Rachel and Pasha tied the knot in 2019, six years after they met.

They welcomed daughter Maven later that year and this April they announced that they had another baby on the way.

The Daily Star has contacted the BBC for comment.

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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