Laura Whitmore, 31, has been branded a ‘bully’ amid claims that she and professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice, 26, were bitterly feuding during their time on Strictly Come Dancing.
A source has come forward to tell MailOnline that Giovanni found television presenter Laura ‘a piece of work’ and a ‘cold fish’ behind the scenes.
In an explosive insight into their working relationship, the insider went on to accuse Laura of sending abusive text messages to the dancer, undermining his skills.
A source close to Giovanni said: ‘Laura was a piece of work, she really was. She made Giovanni’s life hard.
‘She was a difficult, cold fish – she was a bully to Giovanni and he behaved like a total gent.
‘Laura sent him loads of texts basically saying he was no good and was not doing anything for her and abusing him.
‘The producers knew how difficult Laura was. Giovanni is just relieved it’s all over. There is no love lost between them!’
Laura and Giovanni left in Week 7 of the competition after a bottom two dance-off against Ore Oduba, who is due to compete in the Blackpool stage of the ballroom show next week.
‘Laura is not a very good dancer,’ the source continued. ‘She was only good when she was in hold so doing the waltz or the quickstep but when she was dancing out of hold, for example the cha-cha-cha you could see she wasn’t very good.’
Meanwhile, a second source disagreed about the fall-out, telling MailOnline: ‘Gio was quite mean to her backstage and it tainted the whole experience for her.
‘She’s been a Strictly fan for so long. She isn’t a submissive person and they had a few professional disagreements.’
MailOnline has contacted a representative for Laura Whitmore and a spokesperson for Strictly Come Dancing for comment.
Their professional relationship was understood to be on rocky ground from day one due to Laura’s friendship with actress Georgia May Foote, who dated Giovanni after her own Strictly Come Dancing appearance in 2015.
Separate sources also claim the Italian dancer ‘got frustrated’ with her reluctance to film the short pre-recorded videos that feature between every performance.
A source told clashed during rehearsals as Laura got increasingly agitated with Gio’s tone and general rudeness.
‘They pulled it together for the live shows but behind the scenes it was a different story.
‘There’s certainly no love lost between them and it’s doubtful they’ll remain in contact when the series is wrapped up later this month.’
Matters reportedly worsened after Giovanni opted to defy convention by conducting a solo dance move during the couple’s final dance, a move which didn’t go unnoticed by the show’s judges.
Laura fought back tears after stumbling through her dance-off samba routine, resulting in the judges’ unanimous vote to send her home.
After learning of her fate she told co-host Tess Daly of her time on the show: ‘I don’t think anyone realises how much goes on here, the make-up, the costume, everything and just to be part of that for a little while is amazing.’
Giovanni added: ‘I would like to say again thank you for being such a great partner, an amazing person to work with, you teach me a lot and I will never ever forget this journey.’