Dancing on Ices Ashley Banjo targeted by trolls over birthday tribute to his ex

Dancing On Ice star Ashley Banjo has hit back at trolls who criticized him for using the word “dude” in a comment he made on his ex-wife's Instagram post.

The 34-year-old dancer had announced his split from his wife, Francesca Abbott, just before Christmas.

Although the news of their separation was a shock to many, Ashley revealed that they had decided to go their separate ways 18 months ago, but had kept the split a secret until they were ready to tell people.

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So when Francesca posted a photo of herself on Instagram celebrating her 36th birthday, Ashley used the casual nickname in a happy birthday post, saying: "Happy birthday dude."

Francesca's photo showed her dressed in a metallic corset top, black mini skirt, and heels as she celebrated her milestone birthday.

She captioned the post with "30… + 6."

But this did not go down well with some of the fans, who called him out for using the word “dude” and claimed it was inappropriate.

One follower wrote, "Dude?? Sore," while another said, "Ouch!!!!" followed by a red-faced emoji.

However, Ashley was quick to defend himself and his choice of words.

He wrote, "For those of you who wish to comment in outrage. This is what we've called each other for over a decade and a half. But your input is very much appreciated."

Francesca also backed him up, writing, "Thanks dude," with a love heart emoji.

In response to Ashley's clapback, the mother-of-two added, "Shut down lol. He's right though… we really have."

Some of Francesca's 112,000 followers even admitted that they still have affectionate names for their current partners or exes, including dude.

One follower commented: "My partner calls me dude and mate.

“We've been together for 14 years."

Another follower said, "That's what my ex and I called each other for 11 years, and we still do another 6 years later… better than what my brother's fiancée calls him…poo!"

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A third follower wrote, "Some people think these days that if you split from a partner/husband/wife, you should automatically hate or dislike them.

“It's amazing to see you still have that friendly relationship and are keeping it real for your kids."

As Ashley and Francesca share two children, they have managed to maintain an amicable relationship and continue to co-parent their kids together.

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