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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Frances Kindon

Strictly: Kym Marsh broke down in tears when fat-shamed by Popstars judge Nigel Lythgoe

Kym Marsh is killing it in Strictly Come Dancing, winning rave reviews from the judges for the second week running.

And the former Coronation Street star has dazzled in her dresses, looking every inch the ballroom beauty as she glides around the dance floor with pro partner Graziano Di Prima.

The confident Waterloo Road actress enjoys keeping fit, and regularly shares pictures of her workouts on Instagram.

But her balanced attitude to healthy living has been hard fought for.

Kym, 46, battled bulimia as a teenager after putting pressure on herself to be as slim as her classmates at drama school.

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Kym Marsh was one of 3,000 hopefuls on Popstars (LWT)
Popstars judge Nigel Lythgoe reduced her to tears with his body-shaming comments (Getty Images)

But the turning point came when she watched a show about singer Karen Carpenter, who died of heart failure caused by anorexia.

She told Piers Morgan in 2010: "I was making myself sick. It made me feel better because I thought I'm going to show everybody.

"But I watched Karen Carpenter's life story and didn't know she died from a weakened heart as a result of an eating disorder. That gave me that jolt to stop."

But in a TV moment that it's hard to believe ever happened, Kym was once brutally fat-shamed on Popstars by judge, 'Nasty Nigel' Lythgow.

Kym, then 24, was seen relaxing on the sofa with Hear'Say bandmate Susanne Shaw when Nigel marched in and singled her out.

He told the astounded star: "You need to lose some weight. It's alright saying, 'Oh Christmas was there.' Well, the goose has gotten fat."

Dumbfounded, she replied: "Do you think I'm fat?"

But he refused to back down, insisting, "I think you've put weight on over Christmas and I think you needed to lose weight before Christmas."

Crestfallen, Kym hid her eyes as she welled up before storming out of the room, swearing at Nigel and telling him he was "out of order".

Years later, he told documentary Kym Marsh: Talent Show Story he only behaved so cruelly in an effort to motivate the band.

Kym had battled bulimia at stage school (ITV/REX Shutterstock)

"The reason I said this is because it was just after Christmas. The band were very lethargic. The record company said, 'you have got to do something about this,'" he explained.

However, his words had a profound effect on Kym.

"It did affect me. Of course it did... He saw a weakness and picked on it," she previously told Fabulous magazine.

However, she said producers failed to air the 'dressing down' she gave Nigel - and his subsequent apology.

"I told him what I thought about him and said: 'Are you gonna actually show that on television? You humiliated me!' And he said they were only trying to make a TV show. I told him I didn’t give a sh** about his TV show," she said.

Kym dazzled with her Viennese Waltz last weekend (BBC/Guy Levy)

"The next day he came round and apologised in the middle of the night. He obviously wasn't sorry enough for them to take it out of the show, though. They knew it was going to make headlines."

These days, Kym is a big advocate for healthy living, but despite being, "in better nick than I was when I was in Popstars," she previously assured fans her slim figure has nothing to do with Nigel's comments.

Nigel, however - who was made an OBE in 2015 - once insisted he'd actually done Kym a big favour.

"She’s made an absolute mint on slimming down, looking fabulous now, acting brilliantly, and she’s made a huge career for herself, bless her," he told the Press Association.

*Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 6.30pm.

Who do you think will leave the show tonight? Have your say in the comments section below...

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