Rylan Clark lays bare the pressure he feels to have a ‘marble body’

TV personality opened up about body pressures as he was overwhelmed by Michelangelo’s David

Maira Butt
Monday 20 May 2024 16:36 BST
Rylan leaves Rob Rinder in tears in candid admission over mental health

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


TV personality Rylan Clark has opened up about the pressure he feels to have the perfect body, admitting that he was “made to feel quite s*** by people about everything” in the past.

The 35-year-old former X Factor star laid bare his challenges with self-image in his new BBC programme Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour. The show sees Clark and Judge Rinder star Rob Rinder travel across various historic sites exploring art, architecture and history – with the TV presenter opening up about his divorce and mental health struggles in the process.

As the pair explore Florence, they admire Renaissance sculptures including Michelangelo’s David, which prompts a discussion on the masculine image of perfection.

“I’ve made no secret about the fact that I’ve not go that much confidence in myself,” Rylan explains as he shares his personal mental health experiences.

“Being in Florence and seeing art like David makes me sit there and go, ‘Have I inherited from generations gone by and been passed down to that that’s what I’m supposed to look like?’” he reflects in a discussion with Rinder.

“That’s what I want, that’s what I’ve always wanted to look like. But I feel like I’m striving for a marble body.”

As he ponders on the level of effort and resources required, he adds jokingly: “Some people can get that, but that’s a full-time job. Babe, I’ve got The One Show at seven!”

One scene shows the pair remove their clothes as they pose for a portrait, prompting Clark to become visibly uncomfortable.

Clark laid bare the pressure he feels to look like ‘marble’
Clark laid bare the pressure he feels to look like ‘marble’ (BBC Two/ Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour)

“I don’t think I could do what you’re doing right now,” he says to his friend and fellow traveller as Rinder confidently strips off. “I just don’t feel confident enough.”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Travelling around the city filled with sculptures of muscled men, Clark says the experience feels defeating.

“I’ll probably learn more about Renaissance art by doing it, but actually, I think it’s seeing the Renaissance art and seeing David and stuff like that that makes me go, well, ‘I haven’t got that.’ I don’t like my arms, I don’t like my legs, I don’t like my body.”

Clark admits that past experiences have impacted the way he sees himself.

“I just feel like, in my past, I’ve been made to feel quite s*** by people about everything.”

Rinder attempts to empower the presenter as he says: “You’re reclaiming all the things that prevent you from being free.”

Clark eventually strips off to pose, overcoming his demons in the process.

‘Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour’ is available on BBC iPlayer.

For anyone struggling with the issues raised in this article, eating disorder charity Beat’s helpline is available 365 days a year on 0808 801 0677. NCFED offers information, resources and counselling for those suffering from eating disorders, as well as their support networks. Visit eating-disorders.org.uk or call 0845 838 2040

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in