THE abuse and criticism she received from trolls during her time on Strictly Come Dancing has “mentally scarred” her and her family, Alexandra Burke has said.
The former X Factor champion was accused of being “fake” when she cried on the dancing show and branded a diva in reports.
However, the singer said her positive experiences far outweighed the negative and she was excited to reunite with her partner Gorka Marquez for the Strictly live tour.
“A lot of love was there before, but it just came through so much after I finally said it was damaging, and I’m not going to lie, I don’t miss that part of it at all.
“That part of it mentally scarred me and still has and it’s done that to my family as well, but I think we are strong, we will bounce back already.”
Burke lost her mother, Soul II Soul singer Melissa Bell, shortly before the show began and said the family was trying to heal.
She said: “We had an OK Christmas, an OK New Year and it’s about moving forward and not allowing the negative to get in the way, because Strictly is such a joyous show, with so much love and it taught me so much.
“To be able to dance with Gorka, that I could only dream of, that part of it totally outweighs the negative.”
She recently announced her engagement to partner Joshua Ginnelly but said: “It’s bittersweet for me, I’ve always expressed that, but I’m trying to look at the positives that life has thrown at me since going through a tough time.
“God is always good, God has been good to me and I’m very spiritual and I’ve got a lot of faith and I’m just trying to take it each day as it comes.”
Burke said Ginnelly would be accompanying her on the road when the tour kicks off in Birmingham on January 19.
She said: “He’s going to come on tour, he will be there as much as he possibly can but it’s only three weeks of my life and that is what I said to him the other day as I was walking out the house.
“It will go quick, I’m so used to touring for a year and a half, The Bodyguard was two years and that is just difficult, but three weeks will be fine.”
She will be joined on tour by fellow contestants Gemma Atkinson, Susan Calman, Davood Ghadami, Debbie McGee and Jonnie Peacock, as well as champion Joe McFadden and judges Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell.
“I’m quite gutted about that, I wanted all of them,” she said. “Then I found out it’s only three, that’s what they do.”
Asked if she hoped Ballas would return to the show for the next series, Burke said: “She had better be back, she’s a dream. I love her, I’m a massive fan of her. I Googled that woman so much and studied her on YouTube just to see what she was like in competitions when she was younger, she was insane and still is.
“I pray that she comes back, I think she enjoyed the experience and she got a good reaction from the public. Get her back!”
Information on the tour is available at strictlycomedancinglive.com.