PERFORMING in front of six million viewers on Valentine’s Day, their eagerly hyped routine was based on a “classic love story”.
But fans were shocked to see ex-gymnast Amy Tinkler and her partner Joe Johnson booted off Dancing On Ice — despite previously being tipped to win the series.
Now the 2016 Olympics bronze medal winner has revealed the reason behind her elimination — a painful secret break-up from her boyfriend.
Her split from singer Max Cinnamon just days before last weekend’s love-themed show meant Amy was forced to pull out of all media interviews in the build-up, hampering her popularity with viewers.
Incredibly, it also means she is the tenth celeb to be struck by the rapidly spiralling “curse” of Dancing On Ice.
Amy tells HOAR: “I was voted out by the public, and that’s the way these shows go.
“But the reason we decided not to do Press was because it was Valentine’s Week, love week, on the show . . . and I had just split with my boyfriend.
“I just knew interviews would ask me about Max and it would be so difficult to talk about that.
“If there were going to be headlines, I didn’t want it to be ‘Amy Tinkler’s split with her boyfriend’, I wanted it to be about the show.
“I just didn’t think it was right on both sides to publicly discuss it, especially that week.
“It’s been hard, but I think we both saw it coming. Because of Covid, I was in a bubble here and I didn’t want to risk it by seeing him.
“It was in the contract that we couldn’t mix with households outside our bubbles so I hadn’t seen him in I don’t know how long.
“We were at different points in our life, which was probably the main reason why we did split up. We wanted very different things out of the relationship.
“He’s a lovely guy and I wish him all the best in his music career and stuff, but we just weren’t meant to be.
“So in that sense, I don’t think Dancing On Ice had too much to do with that.”
The Geordie, who had replaced Denise Van Outen after she was forced to quit the hit ITV show with a shoulder injury, had previously gushed about French former Eurovision hopeful Max.
The couple regularly posted loved-up photos on Instagram, and in September Amy posted a snap of them kissing, captioning it: “The best six months with you.”
In another shot she added: “I’m so lucky I get to fall in love with you more every day.”
In what, surely, must have been something of a sucker punch, Sunday night saw Amy plaster on a rictus grin and twirl around to Will.i.am’s song Bang Bang.
With lyrics such as: “I love her, can’t leave her/forever I will always need her/Lovesick I got that fever/I’m a fool in love”, Amy gave a theatrical masterclass.
So much so that fans were outraged to see the judges put her in the bottom two — despite them previously being bookies’ favourite to win.
While Amy is keen to miss accusations of a “fix” — especially in the wake of ITV bringing back previous favourite Joe-Warren — the so-called curse of DOI is hard to ignore.
The programme is quickly overtaking Strictly as the ultimate jinx for celebs in relationships.
A rapidly mounting invalid list also makes it the most dangerous show on terrestrial TV.
This series has already seen Joe part ways from his girlfriend, Nicole Hadlow and injury-wise, Denise pulled out after smashing her shoulder in three places.
Two weeks ago comedian Rufus Hound left after testing positive for Covid, while last week Emmerdale actor Joe also came down with the virus.
Jason Donovan is nursing a back injury and reality TV star Billie Shepherd was ruled out after injuring herself in a fall.
And on Tuesday, professional skater Hamish Gaman, who had partnered soap actress Faye Brookes, pulled out having hurt a finger while putting on a sock.
Such is the casualty list that for the first time in its 13-year history, this weekend DOI has been forced to take a week’s break to give stars a chance to recover from various ailments.
Previous celebs to have split from their partners while appearing on the show, or shortly after, include former England goalie David Seaman, Samia Ghadie, Maura Higgins, Wes Nelson, Jake Quickenden and Kem Cetinay.
Despite such a roll call of misery, Amy — who retired from gymnastics in 2019 — has nothing but praise for the way contestants are treated on the show.
“The duty of care is amazing,” she explains.
“We have physios, doctors and a medical team on site every day. And every week we get a slot with doctors to just talk if we’ve got any problems.
“It’s all confidential, and they can see about how they can improve stuff. But the medical team aside, just the support from the production team, and the pros and celebs, has been amazing.
“We’ve had such a nice cast this year, I don’t think there’s one person that didn’t fit in.”
Amy may have been Team GB’s youngest medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but she reckons nothing will ever be as terrifying as being judged by Torvill and Dean.
She explains: “Standing in the elimination line-up was more nerve-racking than any gymnastics contest.”
Britain’s second-most successful female gymnast, with one Olympic and one world medal, as well as three European medals and ten British titles, Amy is still only 21.
After doing some amateur dramatics at school, she is now considering an acting career and reckons her “dream role would be on EastEnders or Corrie”.
She announced her retirement from gymnastics two years ago following a series of behind-the-scenes disagreements with the sport’s governing body.
She bravely named and shamed various members of British Gymnastics, accusing them of fat-shaming and bullying — claims they vigorously denied.
Amy details: “Gym was literally my life. The reason I retired was because it got to the point where I wasn’t enjoying it any more.
“And I believe for my mental health it was best to retire. I struggled a bit, probably from about the age of 12 or 13 — maybe that’s when problems with my weight started kicking in.
“And it’s a tough environment, especially for the girls. The boys turn senior when they’re 18, so they’re classed as men.
“And the girls are sort of 15 or 16 when they turn senior, which is completely wrong. So it was a rough environment to grow up in.
“I have seen a psychologist and a psychiatrist about everything. They have been amazing, and really helped me through it all.
“But it’s a difficult one because also all this stuff doesn’t just go away like that.
“But doing Dancing On Ice has really made me enjoy sport again, it was simply the most amazing experience.
“And I’m so grateful that it’s made me remember there’s more to sport than what I went through.”
With an ongoing investigation into her claims, Amy has received widespread support from those inside and outside the sport — and hopes to inspire young athletes to be proud of their bodies.
So how was it being back in Lycra before a national audience?
Amy says: “In gym, I’d always be so self-conscious going out to competitions in a leotard. And going on this, even in my first week I was in a leotard.
“I was like, ‘I’ve come on Dancing On Ice, and the first thing I’m wearing is a leotard!’
“I mean, on Sunday night, for the first time ever, I wore a wig! So for me I was just loving life!”.
Mishaps put show on ice
THIS series of Dancing On Ice has been plagued by accidents and crises since training began last year and has had to take a week-long hiatus.
From break-ups to broken bones, we reveal how the show’s curse has struck again . . .
EMMERDALE’S Joe Warren-Plant split from Nicola Hadlow, 24 – his girlfriend of three years – in December due to the pressures of training.
In 2019, Joe’s partner Vanessa Bauer was accused of getting too close to Wes Nelson by his then girlfriend Megan Barton-Hanson.
Denise Van Outen
DENISE Van Outen slipped during training with partner Matt Evers and injured her shoulder.
The radio presenter had to leave the show after just one performance when an X-ray revealed she had suffered three fractures and a partial dislocation.
COMEDIAN Rufus Hound and his pro partner Robin Johnstone were forced to leave the competition this month after testing positive for coronavirus.
Rufus had already missed a week’s performance in January to self isolate.
PRO-SKATER Hamish Gaman quit the show this week after his partner, ex- Corrie actress Faye Brookes, complained the routine was too easy.
Hamish, who left the show last year over rumours Caprice felt “bullied”, insists this departure is due to a hand injury.
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