Oti Mabuse gestures with her hand as she speaks

Oti Mabuse reveals devastating real reason she quit Strictly after ‘crying in the shower’

'So hard and so overwhelming'

Oti Mabuse has revealed the devastating real reason she quit Strictly Come Dancing after seven years in 2022.

Dance star Oti, 33, won the BBC One series twice, in conjunction with celebrity partners Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey.

Since her final Strictly appearances, and subsequently confirming she was quitting the show in February of last year, Oti has enjoyed success as a Dancing On Ice judge.

Oti Mabuse during Strictly rehearsals
Oti Mabuse is one of the most decorated and popular pro stars in Strictly history (Credit: BBC)

Her work with ITV has also seen her prove what a good sport she is during pranks for Saturday Night Takeaway.

And she’s also fronted dating series Romeo & Duet, appeared in DNA Journey, and hosted Oti Mabuse’s Breakfast Show for the broadcaster. Additionally, Oti anchored the My South Africa documentary for the BBC.

However, now pregnant Oti – who revealed in August she and husband Marius Iepure are expecting their first child together – has opened up about the “dark days” she has endured.

Oti Mabuse receives her second Strictly Come Dancing title with Bill Bailey
Oti Mabuse won her second Strictly Come Dancing title with Bill Bailey in 2020 (Credit: YouTube)

Oti Mabuse on leaving Strictly

Speaking on the All Change podcast, pro dancer Oti admitted the pressure of dealing with big-name contestants and the pressure she put on herself became too much to cope with.

She explained: “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. 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. Marius has also seen me having to deal with ‘interesting personalities’.

Marius has also seen me having to deal with ‘interesting personalities.’

“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’.”

Oti Mabuse raises her hands on DOI
She’s also been a big hit on DOI as a judge (Credit: YouTube)

‘People are obsessed with Strictly’

Oti also made it clear she was very “grateful” for her career developments, modestly indicating she’s been ‘lucky’.

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

Oti went on: “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?’

“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.”

Read more: Oti Mabuse didn’t speak to sister Motsi for weeks during Strictly Come Dancing run

Strictly Come Dancing 2023 is on BBC One this Saturday, September 30, at 6.20pm.

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer