Rachel Riley says she was diagnosed with PTSD after appearing on Strictly

Former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Rachel Riley has opened up about the impact competing in the show had on her, revealed she was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The Countdown presenter took part in the 2013 series of Strictly Come Dancing, and says she has not been able to watch it since.

Getty/Mike Marsland/WireImage

“I needed cognitive behavioural therapy after competing in 2013 and developed post-traumatic stress disorder” Rachel told OK!. “If I heard the theme music, I’d start reliving the experience. It was scary and unnerving, so my way of dealing with it is to avoid watching”.

Rachel was eliminated in week six of the 2013 series of Strictly, which was eventually won by Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Škorjanec. Rachel’s dance partner in the show was Pasha Kovalev, who she went on to marry in 2019.

“If I hadn’t competed, I wouldn’t have met Pasha” said Rachel. “When it was announced that he was going to be my dance partner, all the dancers and crew congratulated me because everybody loved him. He’s brilliant. And when you need a bit of support, that’s when you know you’re with the right person”.

Rachel and Pasha wed in 2019 in Las Vegas, the same year they welcomed their daughter Maven. In April, they revealed they are expecting their second child, with an Instagram post saying “Happy, happy days for our little family @pashakovalev and future big sister Mave”.

Rachel has also been busy this year with the release of her maths book At Sixes and Sevens. “I’m hoping I’ll inspire maths positivity and build the confidence of anyone who wants to tackle this subject, from the basics, right up to GCSE stuff” she has said.