Gemma Atkinson details Gorka’s struggles behind-the-scenes of Strictly: ‘He’d be in tears’

Gemma Atkinson shares frustrations about Gorka Márquez

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Gemma Atkinson, 36, has opened up on how she and her fiancé Gorka Marquez, 30, coped when they were forced to live apart for the duration of Strictly Come Dancing’s 2020 series. The couple were unable to live together due to regulations imposed by the BBC to keep contestants safe and continue filming amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gemma was left at home in Manchester with the couple’s baby daughter Mia, while Gorka competed in the series with EastEnders’ Maisie Smith.

However, she has now revealed in a new interview that Gorka struggled the most during their time apart last year.

Speaking on The Hot Mess Mums Club podcast, Gemma said: “I’m really fortunate that my mum and her husband Peter are retired and they live round the corner, so I got help with that when I was working.

“She’s [Mia’s] in nursery three days a week so she was busy in herself.

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“But it sounds ridiculous, we used to watch Strictly at the weekends and we used to record it and if she was ever missing him, we’d just put it on and she’d say, ‘It’s papa!’ 

“So she’d still visually see him, which was a massive help, but I think he struggled a lot more, obviously away from Strictly.” 

Gemma explained that her professional dancer beau had to put on a brave face for the cameras while filming, but would be close to tears every time she video called him.

The former Hollyoaks star recalled: “When the cameras are on at Strictly they have to put the face on and it’s all the glitz and the glam.


“But the show had finished and he’d FaceTime in his car, he’d be driven back to the hotel, and he’d be in tears nearly, saying, ‘I just want to come home’. 

“And I’d be like, ‘The dance was really good’ and he’d be like, ‘yeah, but how’s Mia? What have you had for tea?’”

Gemma went on to say that despite Gorka’s emotional experience last year, she and the rest of the nation were very grateful that Strictly was able to continue during a tumultuous time.

The former Strictly contestant added: “And it’s a job that he loves, but it was hard for them all that series.

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“I think the nation needed that series.

“Although it was tough for them, it was normality for all of us, the spectators, I think it was brilliant. 

“Hopefully, fingers crossed, this year – so far – it’s going ahead as normal.

“So she’ll [Mia] be able to visit him, I’ll take her down to the set – it will be great!”

Gorka, Gemma and Mia shared an emotional reunion after three months apart when Strictly finished filming back in December.

Gemma took to Instagram to give fans an insight into the sweet moment at the time, showing a photo of Gorka cuddling Mia upon his return home.

She captioned the post: “HOME. After 78 days he’s home.”

Gorka shared the same snap and wrote: “HOME @glouiseatkinson,” alongside a love heart emoji.

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