Sara Davies has said she feels for Adam Peaty over the attention his recent Strictly Come Dancing routine has attracted.
The Olympic swimmer caused a stir at the end of his Argentine Tango last Saturday, after some viewers said he appeared to lean in and “almost kiss” his dance partner Katya Jones.
Adam later hit out at the social media chatter branding it “gossip”, with his girlfriend Eiri Munro even sharing her good humoured reaction to the moment in a TikTok clip.
Sharing her take on the situation, Sara told MailOnline: “I feel so bad for him because his personal life has been a nightmare this past week and everyone is talking about it when all he’s tried to do is give his all into dancing with Katya, which I can appreciate because that’s what I’m trying to do as well.”
Sara, who is paired with Aljaž Škorjanec on the show, continued: “I have become really close to Adam, he’s one of my best friends through this process and I think if he was to do a dance and know he’s held back and that’s what cost him his place in the competition he would be so annoyed with himself.
“I can see him being in real mental turmoil over this.”
Earlier this week, fellow contestant Judi Love also spoke out in defence of Adam and Katya, explaining the reasons why they would have appeared close at the end of the performance.
Appearing on Loose Women, she said: “I think what people need to understand, when you’re a dancer, you are a performer, you’re an actress, you’re an actor, you’re a dancer - you’re everything in that moment. At the end, people don’t realise you have to hold a pose.”
“So, they’re amazing. They’re amazing dancers, amazing performance and that’s what I saw – a performance that was executed and held in that position for camera, and for audience.”
On Sunday, Adam hit out at the reaction to the end of his and Katya’s dance, suggesting it had “real life consequences”.
He tweeted: “To everyone who wants to see what they want, your comments have real life consequences.
“I will not be overcome or lowered by your gossip. Protect your energy.”
He later told Zoe Ball on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show they were simply “being believable”.
“You don’t want to do a dance like that and not do it justice because you haven’t switched on right at the end,” he said.
“So it’s being believable, and that’s what I think some people get carried away with. But, hey ho, that’s life, isn’t it?”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7.05pm on BBC One.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.