Catherine Tyldesley has told how she was “low on body confidence” and doubted her ability to do well on Strictly, but that the show taught her what she can achieve.
The former Coronation Street star – who was eliminated from the BBC show on Sunday – said she’d had “extremely low” expectations for what she could achieve on the dancefloor, but wanted to do something for herself and fellow mums “who found it hard to look in the mirror and love what they saw”.
Tyldesley, who has a four-year-old son, credited her dance partner Johannes Radebe with boosting her confidence, saying what he gave her was “priceless”.
Sharing a picture on Instagram of the pair in tears after being sent home, the actress said: “My husband took this picture when we had a good cry afterwards. Tears of joy and appreciation for each other. I love this man so much.
“WHAT a journey!!
“Thank you all for your messages, your love and support.
“Thank you Bbc for this opportunity.”
Tyldesley said when she started her Strictly journey, her confidence “was low”.
She continued: “My belief in what I could achieve on the show was extremely low.
“The expectations on my humble body – beyond low.
“What @johannesradebe gave me was priceless.
“Confidence, Belief, Love – and Laughter beyond words!”
“This man is a gift to the world,” she said.
“If there were more people like him the world would be spectacular (with shed loads of #Sas!)
“He taught me how to walk in high heels, he taught me how to ‘own it’… he taught me to love and appreciate what my body could achieve.
“I’m often low on body confidence – but I’m so proud of the limits that I’ve thoroughly pushed on this wonderful journey. I did it for me.”
The star said she “also did it for the hundreds of mums out there who felt they’d lost a little bit of themselves, the women out there who’d become negative about their body. The women who found it hard to look in the mirror and love what they saw”.
She said: “I’m proud of my body and my mind for getting me through this wonderful but incredibly tough experience.
“Push your limits ladies and be grateful for everything you’re wonderful body can achieve.
“Dance like NOBODY is watching.”
Tyldesley and Radebe found themselves in the bottom two on Sunday’s results show after the judges’ scores were combined with the results of the viewers’ votes.
The pair were given their marching orders after a dance-off against Mike Bushell and his partner Katya Jones.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood chose to save Bushell and Jones as he thought they “really stepped it up a notch”, while both Motsi Mabuse and Bruno Tonioli opted to keep Tyldesley and Radebe in the competition.
Head judge Shirley Ballas had the deciding vote and chose to save Bushell and Jones.
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.