Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Rachel Riley makes honest confession about doing Strictly Come Dancing with Pasha Kovalev

The Strictly lovebirds competed in 2013

rachel riley pasha kovalev
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
Share this:

Rachel Riley may have found love with her Strictly Come Dancing dance partner Pasha Kovalev, but her stint on the show left her needing "therapy".

MORE: Rachel Riley shares gorgeous new family photo after reflecting on miscarriage heartache

In her new book, At Sixes And Sevens: How To Understand Numbers And Make Maths Easy, the Countdown star confessed Strictly had quite the impact on her mental health as she detailed the stress of dancing week after week.

WATCH: Rachel Riley gushes about being a mum-of-two

"I didn't realise I was a perfectionist, punishing myself for mistakes, until I did Strictly. At one stage I felt like I wasn't present in my body," she wrote in an extract serialised in Daily Mail.

"One week I was in the dance-off and the quick step went a bit wrong, which I couldn't stop thinking about. The next week when the music started at the rehearsal Pasha looked at my face and said: 'Are you there?'"

MORE: Rachel Riley reflects on heartache of suffering a miscarriage last year

Exclusive: Rachel Riley talks family life with Pasha Kovalev

Rachel, 36, then sought help from a therapist after her future husband suggested she tries cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

pasha kovalev rachel riley evening out© Photo: Getty Images

Pasha and Rachel met on Strictly back in 2013

"When you're under stress, your brain can file memories in the wrong place," she continued. "Something that shouldn't be worrying you comes back. You relive it and it becomes far bigger than it actually was. Pasha suggested cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It helped him give up smoking after two sessions."

Last year, Rachel revealed she avoids watching the BBC show after undergoing CBT to recover from her stint back in 2013. "It still terrifies me. I've had CBT since because it was so terrifying," she explained to MailOnline. "I just avoid it to be honest."

Despite this, Rachel still enjoys having a little dance every now and then - particularly when on holiday. "I love dancing; when Pasha and I go on holiday we always find a salsa club whether we are in Indonesia or LA or Cannes, wherever we are in the world," she added.

According to the NHS website, CBT is "a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave". It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More Celebrity News

See more