How Strictly helped Helen Skelton overcome 'chaos' of her split

Helen Skelton’s Strictly glow up: As the presenter thanks Gorka Marquez for ‘putting faith in her’, Femail looks at how the dancing competition helped her overcome ‘chaos’ after her split from Richie Myler

  • Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez narrowly lost Strictly final last night
  • The presenter teared up as she thanked dancing partner ‘for putting faith in her’ 
  • Took part in competition six months after her split from rugby ace Richie Myler
  • The mother-of-three from Leeds said the show has helped her find herself  
  • Read more: Viewers are split after Hamza Yassin is crowned Strictly winner

There was not a dry eye in the ballroom last night as Helen Skelton thanked her dancing partner Gorka Marquez for putting ‘faith in her that she didn’t have.’ 

The presenter rose to the finale of the dance competition after a tough year that saw her split from her husband, rugby ace Richie Myler, four months after they welcomed their third child and mere weeks before he made his relationship with new girlfriend Stephanie Thirkill public. 

Helen, 39, who lives in Leeds with her three children, previously admitted in July that her life was currently ‘chaos’ after the couple’s separation, but later said she still wanted to ‘end the year on a high’ and opened up about how the show helped her rediscover her confidence. 

And after weeks of dominating the leaderboard and relying on the encourages of Gorka, and with her parents helping her with childcare, the Countryfile presenter might just be the true winner of this year’s Strictly, even if Hamza Yassin bagged the actual trophy. 

Helen Skelton rose to the finale of Strictly Come Dancing after a tough year that saw her split from her husband, and has been opened about how the show has helped her find herself (pictured last night) 

Her tough split from Richie Myler  

Helen split from husband Richie in April just weeks after the birth of their third child, and the rugby star is now expecting a baby with his new girlfriend Stephanie Thirkill.

Richie was first reported to be seeing Stephanie, 32, just days after his split from Helen.

Stephanie is the daughter of Andrew Thirkill, who is one of the richest businessmen in Leeds and is worth an estimated £175 million.

The presenter split from her husband, rugby ace Richie Myler, four months after they welcomed their third child and mere weeks before he made his relationship with new girlfriend Stephanie Thirkill public

The couple married in 2013 and had been together for eight years at the time of their separation 

Former Blue Peter star Helen confirmed their breakup on Instagram, writing: ‘Very sad to say that Richie and I are no longer a couple.

‘He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co-parent our small children.’

However, even after the split, the former couple are said to be maintaining ‘cordial relations’ and Helen was reportedly told of the news before Stephanie announced it publicly on social media.

Richie showed off his new relationship with Stephanie in May, just days after it was announced that his eight-year marriage to Helen was over.

Helen was said to feel ‘bewildered’ by the breakdown of her marriage, with a source close to the couple telling MailOnline: ‘Helen is absolutely devastated.’

They continued: ‘Now she is contemplating life without him while he has moved on with his new partner.’

Not wanting to be a ‘victim’ 

The mother-of-three admitted earlier this year that her life after the split was ‘chaos’ but is reportedly happily single and doesn’t want to be portrayed as a victim 

Helen was reportedly ‘devastated’ by the news of Richie’s new flame, but has refused to comment publicly out of respect for everyone invovled 

In an interview with The Telegraph in October, Helen refused to comment on Richie’s new relationship out of respect for all involved, noting: ‘You cannot have any opinion on anyone else’s life until you’ve walked in those shoes. And my family are happy, my kids are happy, and that’s all ultimately that matters.’

She explained that she agreed to take part on Strictly to cap off the year on a positive note, claiming: ‘I think it would have been disrespectful for me to have not done Strictly. For my family, who need to see me have a great time. It’s not just for me.’

Helen went on: ‘I don’t see myself as a victim, no, because I mean, look… There are a lot of people who have been in my situation who haven’t been given the opportunities that I’ve got.’

Despite this, she admitted that she still gets frustrated just like anyone else, noting: ‘Don’t get me wrong, I have my days when I’m p***ed off.’ 

Supportive parents 

The presenter can count on the support of her family. She moved back with her parents before Strictly so they could help with childcare 

She has credited her dance partner, Gorka Marquez, left, for helping her find her confidence on the dancefloor

Helen has been opened about struggling to navigate parenting admitting her life was in ‘chaos’ in July on Lorraine. 

‘My mum has come to stay for the week, because she doesn’t live near, so she’s got the kids off to school,’ she told the daytime TV host at the time. 

‘Monday morning when you’ve got to get the kids to school is just… It’s the same drill every day but somehow it’s always chaos! “Get the socks on, get their shoes on, where’s their school bags?'”‘ Helen went on. 

As she began her Strictly journey, the presenter moved back with her parents took on more childcare duties to help her out.

Helen joked ‘grandparents keep the economy running’ as she opened up about how ‘easy’ they have made her life back in November. 

The Strictly star told Closer magazine how she ‘gets to do all the fun stuff’ with her children while her parents take on the practical side.

She said: ‘My parents are amazing. It’s the easiest parenting time of my life because they’re on-hand all the time, doing loads for me. I’m pretty sure that grandparents keep this economy running!’

‘My mum gets the school uniform ready, making sure that the homework is out. Where as I get to do all the fun bits, like taking them to football and swimming and all of that. So it is a juggle but ultimately I feel like I’m really lucky.

‘I’m really grateful that I’ve got my parents there doing all the hard work and I’m getting to do all the fun stuff.’

Finding herself on Strictly 

And with her supportive parents helping with the kids at home, Helen has been able to blossom in the Strictly ballroom, thanks to the encouragements of her dance partner Gorka Marquez. 

She recently revealed it’s been ‘wonderfully liberating to be happy in my own skin’ while starring on Strictly following her breakup from husband of eight years Richie Myler.

Mother-of-three Helen said performing with pro Gorka Márquez was never about being ‘sexy’ but instead their partnership focussed on gaining back ‘control’ and feeling ‘sassy and powerful’, with the TV star admitting she’s found herself again on the dance floor.

During an emotional VT last night, Helen thanked Gorka for ‘putting faith in her that she didn’t have’ 

Speaking ahead of the Strictly final, Helen said: ‘Everyone has confidence in different ways.

‘I was having a chat with Claudia [Winkleman] about it one day and not everybody can strut down the high street in high heels and a dress but maybe you’re confident in talking about politics or writing books or whatever but yes, I have found confidence.

‘Gorka is clever because he’s never made it about being sexy it’s been about being sassy and powerful and being in control and that’s a wonderfully freeing thing for anybody when they feel in control of their own self and what they’re doing.

‘I don’t think it’s about being sexy I think it’s about being confident in your own skin and being who you are.

‘The thing Gorka kept saying to me in the beginning which I didn’t get was ‘just own it’, I was like ‘I don’t know what you’re on about, I’m here’ – I was like ‘what does that even mean?’ But now I get it.

‘It has been a wonderfully liberating thing to just be happy in my own skin and my own shoes and doing whatever walk I’m doing.’

Two months ago, Helen told Strictly host Claudia, ‘I’m not sexy, I’m functional.’ 

Fast-forward to the show’s Musical Week where Helen danced her Couple’s Choice to Mein Herr from Cabaret, and the star wowed the judges with her seductive rendition, while wearing a sequin bodice and suspenders. 

Helen also impressed in last week’s semifinal with her Argentine Tango, beginning the performance on her own strutting forward in the centre of the dance floor. 

She admits her confidence post-split from rugby ace Richie, 32, who’s now in a relationship with pregnant girlfriend Stephanie Thirkill, has soared, and the support she’s received from her fan base has given her the motivation to remain strong in the competition.   

Helen said: ‘For us that has been the thing that has kept us going every week.

‘Confidence is all relative isn’t it and challenges are all relative but yes, I have definitely found my confidence on the dance floor, and I enjoy it and that’s what it’s all about.

‘Every week we get so many messages from people who share things about their life and that’s the ultimate humbling thing, when you’re in TV that’s why you do it because you like connecting with people and being part of things.

‘It’s a privilege to be in people’s living rooms on a Saturday night and it’s a privilege when they share things and if one person has thought I’m going to put myself out of my comfort zone and I’m going to take on something difficult then we’ve done our job.’

Helen gave an emotional speech last night as the show reached its close, with Hamza Yassin and his dancing partner Jowita Przystal bagging the win. 

In an emotional VT, the presenter, 39, breaks down in tears as she praises the professional dancer, 32, for boosting her confidence, telling him: ‘You put faith in me that I didn’t have.’ 

And in a clip showed ahead of their Showdance on Saturday, Helen went on to thank her dance partner for the huge impact he’s had on her.

During a a break from rehearsals, Gorka told her: ‘I am very proud of you as I think you’ve grown a lot, and you’re gonna leave this show being a happier person.’

To which a tearful Helen told him: ‘You can outwardly see how different I am and you have made me remember who I am and that is the biggest and kindest and best thing anyone can ever do for somebody.’

As she struggled to told back the tears, she sobbed: ‘You put faith in me that I didn’t have.’

The two then shared an emotional hug as they reflected on the amazing journey they’d been on together.

Read more: 

The smile that says I won! Beaming Hamza Yassin greets onlookers after winning Strictly Come Dancing as he leads the boozy after-party departures with bleary-eyed Tess Daly 

And ‘You put faith in me that I didn’t have’: Tearful Helen Skelton credits Gorka Marquez for helping her to ‘remember who I am’ amid marriage split  

And Shirley Ballas looks furious as she’s heckled by rowdy audience member while critiquing Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez’s Showdance 

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