Oti Mabuse reveals real reason she quit Strictly Come Dancing

Mabuse exited the programme, which she won twice, in 2022

Annabel Nugent
Wednesday 27 September 2023 09:17 BST
Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse crowned Strictly winners

Oti Mabuse has opened up about the real reasons she exited Strictly Come Dancing.

The Latin American and ballroom dancer shocked fans in February last year when she announced she was quitting the programme.

Mabuse, 33, joined the BBC series as a professional dance partner in 2015. She was crowned winner twice, in 2019 and 2020 with Kevin Fletcher and Bill Bailey, respectively.

Speaking on the All Change podcast, Mabuse spoke about the struggles she faced behind the scenes of the programme, adding that she feels grateful for her husband Marius Lepure who supported her.

“Luckily my husband again has been an amazing person who has seen the dark days, the days where I’m in the shower crying with my clothes on because it’s so hard and it’s so overwhelming,” she said.

“He’s seen me not eat, he’s seen me overeat, he’s seen me struggle with not being able to get the best out of someone. He’s seen me having to deal with interesting personalities.”

Mabuse continued: “So, he’s the person that’s seen the behind the scenes at the point where I’d got to where I was like, ‘I think I’m finished.’ He was like, ‘Yeah I think there’s this new thing that’s got a fire in your stomach. When you’re hosting or talking to people you’re a completely different person.’”

Mabuse went on to acknowledge that her decision to leave the show after seven years came as a shock to fans.

“I came from the biggest show on television. Every single human being on this planet, in this country, loves Strictly. People are obsessed,” she said.

“When you come from there, you are with that group, then when you decide you’re going to leave it’s like: ‘What? What do you mean?’

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"I was met with a lot of: ‘Why would you leave? You’re happy, you’re at the top of your professional game, you professional game, you won the show?”

Mabuse said that her decision was driven by her desire to take on other projects that “put the fire in my belly”.

She has since been a panellist on The Masked Dancer and became  a judge on Dancing on Ice in 2022.

Oti Mabuse announces she’s pregnant with first child live on air

Last summer, she also hosted the dating game show Romeo and Duet in which single love seekers were serenaded by love matches they cannot see.

“I was really lucky at that point that just after winning my second title [on Strictly], ITV their arms open and they were like, ‘Hey, come in!’” she said.

“So when I was jumping, there was somewhere to land. Even though I left, there was this whole world, a new family, that had opened doors for me and that’s luck and I have to be honest about that, I have to be grateful for that.”

Announcing her exit from Strictly last year, Mabuse said on Instagram: “Never easy to say goodbye. I have been part of the most amazing TV show, Strictly Come Dancing for the past seven years and it has been an incredible time.

“Lifting the glitterball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and incredible professional dancers! You are my family and I adore you all forever.”

Mabuse also presents her own breakfast show on ITV, titled Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show. It was on the series that Mabuse and Lepure announced that they are expecting their first child together last month.

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