Strictly’s Kym Marsh reveals real reason behind her backstage meltdown and ‘really tough’ week ahead


SHE has  become a dazzling ballroom success after her admitted “nervous” start on Strictly  — yet behind the scenes Kym Marsh has over- come even more hurdles than she has on screen.

While her recent performances have won plaudits from the show’s judges, especially last weekend’s stunning Argentine Tango, just a few weeks ago SE told how Kym had even contemplated quitting after a devastating anxiety attack left her frozen with panic and unable to perform.

Strictly star Kym Marsh says panic attacks can affect anyone at any time

Kym Marsh credits dance pro Graziano Di Prima for calming her down

The incident brought rehearsals to a standstill, and Kym, who is dancing with pro Graziano Di Prima, admits: “It just came over me, almost out of nowhere, and I couldn’t carry on.”

The 46-year-old actress adds: “I’ve always suffered from panic attacks.

“It’s something I don’t mind talking about because I know it can affect anyone at any time.

“Sometimes it has been ages (since an attack) and then suddenly one just hits.

“Everyone thinks that because you’re on the telly you must be amazingly confident, but the truth is that I’m not always and this is how that comes out.

“I don’t know exactly what caused it, I think I’d had some harsh comments from the judges the week before, I’ve been working other jobs at the same time too, so it’s tiring, and I just lost my confidence completely.

” I went to pieces and said ‘I don’t think I can do this’.

“At that moment I wasn’t sure I could even carry on with the show.

“It’s hard to explain, you don’t see it coming. I’ve had therapy for anxiety and tried things like that but it can still just creep up, usually just when you could most do without it.

“There were a lot of tears, and a few of the other guys had to step in to help me and they cancelled the rehearsal at that point.

“Everyone was great in the crew and the production, Hamza (Yassin, wildlife presenter and fellow contestant) was especially kind.

“He just calmed me down and tried to remind me ‘We’re only dancing’, and it was Graziano who really pulled me through.

“He’s just the most incredible man and we’ve got really close, even though he had no idea who I was really beforehand.

“Now he comes over to our house once a week for dinner.

“I think if I gave anybody some advice before Strictly it would be to really get to know your partner and get close to them . . . 

“OK, just not THAT close!” she joked, referring to the Strictly curse — blamed for the breakup of some previous contestants’ relationships after they got close to their dance partners.

“There’s no danger of that for us. Let’s be honest, I’m 46 and he’s 28, I could actually be his mum!”

Kym Marsh says Strictly has brought her closer to husband Scott

Kym says time spent in London with husband Scott has been good for them

In fact, the show has brought newlywed Kym closer to her husband Scott, a serving officer in the Army.

His role in the paratroop regiment means that the couple are used to spending weeks apart as he is based at barracks in Sandhurst in Berkshire, while Kym lives in Warrington, Cheshire.

Strictly has brought the pair to London weekly and “really done us good”, Kym says.

She explains: “Far from the Strictly curse, we’re actually getting more time together as a couple than ever, and I’m really pleased that Scott is there to support me.


“He’s really proud and knows I’m working hard. Actually things have just started to fall into place over the last few weeks, even though there’s a long way to go.

“The Argentine Tango suited me because I think it’s more theatrical, it’s basically acting. I think those sort of dances suit me, and I’m better with the Latin stuff than ballroom.

“But I’ve found some confidence — it’s like my inner Tony Adams is starting to come out.

“I love him, and I think we all need to be a bit more like Tony in our lives and just throw ourselves in head first.

“That’s what I’ve started to do.”

But a heartbreaking dance this week is likely to leave Kym in need of all of her inner strength, as she dedicates her routine to her baby son Archie, who tragically died in 2009 shortly after his premature birth.

She is also mum to David, Emilie and Polly.

Kym and Graziano will perform an American Smooth foxtrot to the Snow Patrol ballad Chasing Cars — a track that was played around the time Archie passed away — with Kym saying: “I’m dancing for him this week.”

She explains: “He’d be 13 years old now, a teenager. I can hardly believe it.

“In some ways it feels a long time has passed but in others it’s still very raw and vivid.

“But baby loss is a subject very close to my heart and something I have talked about many times, because the impact and the pain of that experience never leaves you.

“Dancing to that song will be hard, but it’s always been important to me to keep him in our memories – we may not have had very much time together, and we never got to find out the little boy he would have grown into, how his laugh sounded or what football team he might have liked, but this means a lot to me.

“It’s actually something else Graziano and I have in common — he doesn’t mind me sharing this with you, but people don’t realise he was actually a twin — but sadly they lost his twin at birth.

“So this weekend is for Archie, and also for Stefano his brother.

“And we’re going to give it everything we can in their memory.”

Kym says she is not thinking about winning the competition yet

Last week saw Kym land her first perfect score of the competition — having dramatically improved in recent weeks thanks to her renewed confidence — a boost she hopes will see her through to the later stages in the competition.

She explains: “I’m not really thinking about finals or anything like that, and there are some really brilliant dancers in the competition.

“But I’ve started to really enjoy this so I’m just happy to still be here, and I want to keep going and keep improving for as long as I can.

“The truth is that, at first I really didn’t think I could do it, and I looked at other people and just felt overwhelmed.

“But Graziano has been such an incredible teacher, and so patient, that I feel as though I’m finding my feet — literally.

“It has been the most brilliant experience already. It’s hard balancing it with my other jobs, as I’m filming Waterloo Road at the moment too and presenting Morning Live — I really am knackered and I’ve had some physio because I’m aching all over the place now, but it’s worth it.

“I’m just trying to enjoy every minute, and hopefully this week we will do Archie proud.”

Fellow contestant Hamza Yassin was ‘especially kind’ says Kym

Kym says Strictly has been an incredible experience for her