Former Strictly Come Dancing star Artem Chigvintsev has denied claims by his one-time dance partner Fern Britton that he mistreated her on the show.
The TV presenter told an event hosted by the Times that Artem would ‘kick me or shove me’ during rehearsals for the BBC One series.
But the Russian-born dancer, who left the show last year, said her comments came as a ‘shock’.
Fern Britton and Artem Chigvintsev danced together (Rui Vieira/PA)
Fern, 57, told an audience: “He would look at my feet and just kick me or shove me. He was like, ‘Shut your face. Go home before I kill you.’
“I would say, ‘Oh please just kill me, it would be easier.’ Or what was his other one? ‘If you go for a cup of tea now, I will blow off like an atomic bomb.’ I thought, well, I won’t correct him on that one.
“We did love each other for a moment or two but he wasn’t charm personified. I did kind of enjoy it, but it was grim at the same time.”
Fern Britton and Artem Chigvintsev (Ray Burmiston/BBC)
The 32-year-old professional dancer, who now appears on Dancing With The Stars in the US, said: “Recent statements apparently made by Fern Britton, whilst not reflecting any situation I recognise, are difficult to ignore.
“I believe I treated Fern with respect and genuine care, and these claims about me are the opposite of everything I believe in and the person I am.
“I cannot imagine what has prompted such statements, which come as a shock to me. I just want to thank all my fans and friends for their support and belief in me.”
The pair eventually finished 10th in the 2012 competition.
At the time of her elimination, she told him: “Artem, I’ve loved it. I wouldn’t have swapped you for anything. There have been highs and lows, we’ve got to know each other pretty well, and I do adore you.”