Helen Skelton may have had her confidence shaken in her marriage split but she showed dazzling form on the opening show – and pro partner Gorka Marquez is urging her to “believe she can do it”.
The Countryfile presenter, 38, was devastated earlier this year when husband of eight years Richie Myler ended their relationship. And then, in the week she made her Strictly debut, the rugby league player referred to his new girlfriend as his “family”.
Luckily, Helen – who is mum to Ernie, seven, Louis, five, and 10-month-old Elsie – has Gorka’s support as she tries to get back to “the old Helen”.
The 32-year-old said of her dancing, “I think she’s great but she needs to believe. I know her confidence at the moment isn’t great but she needs to believe in herself and believe she can do it.
“I think she has a lot of potential and she’s a beautiful dancer. I believe in her as well.”
Meanwhile, a show source told us, “Helen’s confidence has been knocked to shreds but Gorka knows she has the ability to win. She needs to learn to believe in herself and Gorka is helping her to feel that.
“A lot of the other stars think she’s going to win this, too.”
It was after the first live performance – in which Helen and Gorka danced the American Smooth – that Richie, 32, made the post about his new “family” on Instagram.
He shared a picture of himself and new girlfriend Stephanie Thirkhill with her dad, Andrew, who is president of his rugby team Leeds Rhinos, along with a love heart.
But while Helen will understandably have been hurt by this public declaration, she knows she has the backing of her Strictly family. Eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted her holding hands with fellow contestant Kaye Adams on the studio balcony and she has also struck up a close friendship with Fleur East.
Referring to her blossoming friendship with her co-stars in an Instagram post, Helen said last week, “Grateful that I get to do this with pals.”
And gushing about Spanish star Gorka, she referred to him as a “belter of a pal”, adding that without him she would never have made it on to the dance floor in the first place.
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