'I had to put a tough face on it': Strictly's Karen Clifton discusses Will Young's shock departure

Sharnaz Shahid

She has kept quiet about the reason behind dance partner Will Young's shock departure from Strictly Come Dancing. But after a grilling from Piers Morgan on Tuesday's Good Morning Britain, Karen Clifton was forced to address the situation, claiming she had to put on a "tough face".

During week three of the competition last October, the former Pop Idol winner announced he was leaving the competition for "personal reasons," following an awkward row with head judge Len Goodman


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Will Young dramatically quit Strictly Come Dancing during week three of the competition 

Appearing on the breakfast show alongside Strictly champion Ore Oduba ahead of the show's nationwide tour, Piers asked: "Will Young... Did we ever find out what happened?" To which, Karen replied: "I had to put a tough face on that one, I'm not going to lie. I mean, he had his reasons. I'm still not 100 percent sure why." Ore later added: "It was a surprise to all of us."

Will, 37, became the fifth celebrity to quit the show in the programme's 12-year history. In his statement, the singer said: "To be a part of Strictly has been a long-time ambition of mine. As a performer, a viewer, and a fan of the show, to dance as a contestant was an experience I always hoped for. I have made some great friends, and am in awe of their performances week in, week out. I have found a creative partnership with Karen that has been the most wonderful thing to experience."


Karen Clifton said she had to put on a "tough face" after the surprise departure

At the time it was believed Len's "turn up, keep up and shut up" comment after Will's salsa routine was one of the reasons which had prompted him to quit the show. However, the 72-year-old judge refuted the claims, insisting he did not mean the remark "in a vicious way". He told The Sun: "It was unfortunate that he went the week I said to him he has to 'turn up, keep up and shut up'. But it wasn't said in a vicious way. I said there wasn't enough content which really isn't even a pop at him - it's a pop at the choreographer. I did ask other people if it was because of that he packed it in and I've been assured it wasn't."