Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse has finally opened up on the reason behind her exit from the BBC1 show.
The 33-year old shocked fans in February last year as she revealed her seven-year stint had come to an end. Oti, whose sister Motsi Mabuse is a judge on the programme, described her "dark days" on the dancefloor, despite winning the famous Glitterball Trophy on two occasions.
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South African Oti was crowned champion in consecutive years with Emmerdale's Kelvin Fletcher and comedian Bill Bailey, but admitted at times her experience left her "crying" and "unable to eat".
Speaking on the All Change podcast, Oti said the pressures of dealing with celebrity contestants and the stress she put on herself made her position untenable.
She explained: "Luckily my husband [fellow dancer, Marius Lepure] again has been an amazing person who has seen the dark days, the days where I'm in the shower crying with my clothes on because it's so hard and it's so overwhelming.
"He's seen me not eat, he's seen me overeat, he's seen me struggle with not being able to get the best out of someone. He's seen me having to deal with 'interesting personalities'."
She continued: "So, he's the person that's seen the behind the scenes at the point where I'd got to where I was like: 'I think I'm finished'."
Oti, who is currently expecting her first child, said she appreciates her departure must have come as a big shock and a disappointment to loyal Strictly fans.
"I came from the biggest show on television. Every single human being on this planet, in this country, loves Strictly. People are obsessed.
"When you come from there, you are with that group, then when you decide you're going to leave it's like: 'What? What do you mean?'
"I was met with a lot of 'Why would you leave? You're happy, you're at the top of your professional game, you professional game, you won the show?'"
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Oti remained in the limelight, however, joining rival broadcaster ITV soon afterwards as a judge on Dancing on Ice before hosting her own dating show, Romeo and Duet.
She added: "I was really lucky at that point that just after winning my second title [on Strictly], ITV held their arms open and they were like 'hey, come in!'
"So when I was jumping, there was somewhere to land. Even though I left, there was this whole world, a new family, that had opened doors for me and that's luck and I have to be honest about that, I have to be grateful for that."
Oti shared her exciting baby news on air on August 26 and is due to give birth around Christmas time.
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