Faye Tozer has revealed her mother was being treated for breast cancer while she was competing on Strictly Come Dancing.
The Steps singer, 43, was paired with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice when she debuted on the BBC One show in September last year.
In April that year, her mother Dorothy was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and began a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Speaking to Hello! magazine, Tozer said: “While I was putting on sequins, mum was putting on a cold cap. That kept everything in perspective.
“If I was having a bad day, I knew that mum was going through so much more.”
Asked why she had not spoken of her mother’s illness before, she added: “It was mum’s journey, not mine.
“I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me or ask how I was because it wasn’t about me. I wanted to get on with the job, and mum wanted that as well. She was so incredibly positive.”
Tozer said her mother has completed most of her treatment and is “out the other side”.
She said: “It’s nice to be able to say ‘This is what happened and we are out the other side’. I am so very proud of her.”
She added: “I would send her photos of the costumes.
“And every week I sent mum a video of me and Giovanni rehearsing, so she could watch the progress we’d made on the Saturday night. I’d always phone and say: ‘Mum, how are we doing?’
“She was still so supportive even though she was going through so much. I think we all just kept going, and it wasn’t until afterwards that it really sunk in.”
Tozer’s mother told the magazine: “We didn’t want to say: ‘This is dreadful, I have cancer.’
“We are saying: ‘I had cancer, but now I’ve sorted it.’”
Tozer earned a perfect score of 120 in the Strictly final but lost out to eventual winner Stacey Dooley.
The full interview is available in Hello!, out today.