Seann Walsh says his 'dreams were destroyed' by Strictly kiss scandal

Seann Walsh’s ‘dreams were destroyed’ by the backlash to his kiss with Strictly Come Dancing’s Katya Jones.

The comedian was competing on Strictly in 2018 when he was pictured passionately kissing his dance partner Katya following a trip to the pub.

At the time, Katya was married to fellow Strictly pro Neil Jones, and Seann was in a long-term relationship with The Crown star Rebecca Humphries.

Speaking about the scandal on the podcast Take Flight with Mark Whittle, Seann said that he had been ‘naive’ to how big Strictly was, and said his life ‘changed forever’ after the pictures were published.

The 35-year-old said: ‘It was a very exciting time. It’s such a shame that it haunts me with so many negative memories, because actually I was having a wonderful time.

‘Up until that point, I had never enjoyed myself so much in my life. I couldn’t believe my luck that I was on this programme and it was going well.

‘From that point on, my life changed… forever, I suppose. It’s difficult because two days later, my ex-girlfriend sort of posted online a sort of statement about me lying about the kiss, and then that went on to other public accusations about me.’

He added: ‘I accept that, you do wrong and you put yourself in the spotlight and you pay the price for it. What I don’t accept to this day and struggle with and it does haunt me is this notion of who I am as a person has been drawn up and taken out of one’s control.’

Seann had experienced panic attacks in his early 20s, but following the Strictly scandal, they returned, and he often ‘relives’ the backlash.

He said: ‘The panic attacks came back – big, big panic attacks and I ended up having what I later found out were called vertigo seizures. I had one the other day, I just lied down – I had to lie down in the street, it’s quite humiliating. And it’s in London so nobody gives a s***.

‘I have to relive what happened, still. I could be OK then suddenly the memories of it all come back. And I can’t stop thinking about it. It defeats me and beats me until the plates start spinning and I lose balance and fall and start screaming, so I still get them. They’re less frequent, I’d never had them before.’

The comic added that he takes anti-anxiety medication and uses exercise to cope.

Seann went on to say that the kiss and the resulting backlash left him ‘living without hope’.

He said: ‘I wanted to be a comedian pretty much my whole life. As everyone does, I think, who gets involved in anything in life, you want to leave your mark. You don’t want to leave your mark the way I left a mark, but you’ve got to have some sort of self-belief that you can do something special and make as many people laugh as possible.

‘And that had gone, really. That had gone with the kiss and the statement and ongoing articles. That seemed to have gone. I was a very dream-like young man, I would dream of doing the Apollo, my sitcom, I was always living in this fantasy land. Then it was suddenly the first time… not for the first time, but it was the first time I was so completely living without hope.

‘A kiss and a statement had sort of destroyed my dreams, destroyed who I was. That was all gone, Who was I going to be for the rest of my life?

‘It’s still all I think about. What I could have been, what my life could have been, what I could have made myself was gone.’

He added, however, that much of his live audience has gone back to normal.

After the pictures emerged, Rebecca dumped Seann, and both he and Katya publicly apologised on Strictly: It Takes Two, before being eliminated from the show two weeks later.

Katya, 32, split from husband Neil, 39, 10 months later, and the dancer previously called the attention that the situation got ‘mental’.

She told The Sun in December: ‘I think for two weeks Brexit was forgotten!

‘It was mental, and it took time to get over it but the way I came out of it, I am happy, and my ex-husband Neil and I have never been so close. Which I think says it all.

‘I’m not saying that what happened was right but lessons were learned and now we are both so happy.’

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