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Louise Redknapp opens up about Strictly Come Dancing journey - full interview

Louise Redknapp was the runner-up on Strictly in 2016

Emmy Griffiths

In an exclusive photoshoot and interview Strictly Come Dancing's Louise Redknapp back in 2016, the star told HELLO! that it was her husband Jamie, who she split from in 2017, who "gets really nervous" when she performs on the show. During Louise's Strictly journey, she said: "When he came to watch filming he said he felt sick. He couldn't contain his nerves." The star loved performing herself, explaining: "I've had so many messages from women saying, 'You're doing it for girls in their 40s who are mums. It was so nice to have lovely comments from women saying, 'We're proud of you'. That means more to me than anything. I was really scared about doing Strictly."

Speaking about emotional moments in the series, she continued: "There have also been some emotional moments. One week, I lost my grandad and danced to Hallelujah. I didn't tell anyone there at the time, which was tough. I was chuffed that I got through." The now 44-year-old said that that the show made her confident again, explaining: "At the launch I was thinking, 'I don't know if I'm cut out for this.' It was so far out of my comfort zone. But I've realised – and many mums will recognise this – that it's quite nice to feel a bit selfish. I get up and dance every day, which I love. I wanted to get my confidence back a bit." The 44-year-old, who has two sons Charley, 15, and Beau, ten, also confided that it her husband, footballer-turned-pundit Jamie, is the tougher parent.

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"Oh, Jamie's much more strict than I am," she said at the time. "I'll do anything for an easy life. He's brilliant, I have to say. If they want new football boots, they have to earn them. Our eldest is desperate for an iPhone. All his friends have them and Jamie's like, 'No, no, no. When I feel the time is right and you've earned one, you'll get one.' It has to be for Christmas, a birthday or when he has done something brilliant such as performing well in an exam."

Both Louise and Jamie revealed in HELLO! that they are wary about their boys using social media in the future. Jamie said: "I just want to keep them away from that for as long as possible and be in control of what they see and what they know. They could read horrible stuff as well as nice stuff about Jamie and me. I would hate them to look at Twitter after I've danced on a Saturday night and see people being mean. I'm their mum and nobody wants to read that about people they care about." Speaking about keeping their sons out of the limelight, Louise said: "We never wanted to put our kids in the public eye too much. But Strictly is such a family show and takes up so much of your time that you have to involve your family. They were chuffed to bits to be on TV."

The mum-of-two is protective of her boys, explaining: "I don't even let Charley get a bus on his own," Louise laughs. "I was a lot more streetwise at his age, when I caught two Tubes, a train and a bus every day to get to Italia Conti. I'm like Charley's chauffeur." She added that she never stayed after rehearsals for too long so she could get back to her family, explaining: "I might swig a quick glass of prosecco, but I usually want to get home. I do the football run the next day."

During the interview, the now-divorced couple spoke about their relationship, with Louise saying: "We've been married 18 years last June or July – oh, I should know this. Every day is a new day and I never take Jamie or my relationship for granted. You always have to work on it and focus on putting each other first when you can. Long may it continue. They mean the world to me. Don't get me wrong, Jamie's my best friend in the world – we've been together for 100 years. Without talking to him and being with him, my life would be empty. I'm a big believer in friends for life. I'm not someone who will meet a celebrity and we start hanging out."

Of the "Strictly curse", which has seen stars and their dance partners end up falling for each other, Louise said: "We laughed about it. After so many years, it'll take more than Strictly and a sparkly leotard to cause problems. Plus, Kevin is married to the hottest dancer on the show."

STORY: See inside Louise Redknapp's Surrey home

Louise also spoke about how afraid she was of performing Flashdance, and how she turned to her friend for advice. "I rang my friend before I did Flashdance and said, 'I'm really scared,'" she said. Her friend replied: "'I've known you since you were 11 and, out of all those girls, I believe the reason you've done well is that you were fearless as a girl, you just went for it. Just be fearless tonight.' So if there's one lot of advice I'd give any young woman, it would be, 'Be fearless about what you want to go and achieve. As long as you don't hurt anyone in the process, don't be held back.' We hold back, we apologise for being good at something. I wish I could have told myself that five or ten years ago."

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Speaking about how her fitness had changed throughout training, she said: "When we trained for our first dance, the jive, I would get halfway through and would go, 'Kevin, I can't carry on,' and he would go, 'Eighth gear. You can get through it.' Now we finish a routine and I go, 'Can we do that again?' "As for my body changing, it's hard to tell. It would be a bonus if I lost a few pounds. The fact they got me in a leotard must have been a positive." She continued: "I went into this with no expectations. I'm happy with my life, with being a mum and doing my passion projects. My reasons for doing this [Strictly] are personal rather than for my work. The only thing I would love to experience is doing something on the stage. I like to work. A lot of people say, 'Why do you bother working?' Everyone is different, but I've worked since I was 16 years old and would struggle to stop now."

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