Kevin Clifton opens up about time when he was ‘not well’ mentally: ‘I hated myself’

Kevin Clifton jokes that he 'didn't fancy Stacey at first'

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Kevin Clifton, 38, spoke about his own mental health struggles in a new podcast with his former housemate and acclaimed performer Jess Khan-Lee. The former Strictly Come Dancing professional spoke about a time when he was “not well mentally”, as well as how he turned things around.

The dancer opened up in his latest interview on The Kevin Clifton Show.

Speaking to Jess, Kevin discussed his own mental health battles, admitting how at times he had romanticised struggling artists.

He said: “Being a performer, being an actor, I’ve found sometimes we romanticise someone who seems to be in a really dark place but they do a good job of something.

“And we romanticise the, ‘this person was all over the place and they were really struggling and that’s why they are such an amazing artist’.

“Sometimes I used to think because I’ve been through, similar to what you were saying, I went through a time where I was I guess not well mentally.

“And there’s a part of me that looks to these people that we romanticise, say it’s a Kurt Cobain or an Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger.

“We romanticise that part of them that was so chaotic and they were just a tortured artist.

“They’re all brilliant artists but the chaos in them was not necessarily helping things. They were just also a brilliant artist.”

Speaking more about this time, Kevin recalled how he “hated” himself.

He continued: “There was a point when I had a really low opinion of myself, just no self-esteem and hated myself really.

“I think there are parts of it that you can, the darkness and angst, that you can use for performing but in the long run I don’t think it does you any good.


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“Your world becomes a reflection of how you are in yourself ultimately. If you’re chaotic in yourself, your world is chaotic.”

This is not the only time the dancer has used his platform to open up about his battles with mental health.

He has spoken in previous interviews about having severe anxiety before he performs on stage.

Talking on BBC Breakfast back in January 2020, he said: “I’m all over the place with this sort of thing.

“I’m really nervous before any performance, even on Strictly where it’s more my comfort zone, I get nervous before going on.

“It will be before I go and meet my partner, I’ll maybe take a few minutes in a room on my own because I don’t want them to see that I’m going through this nervous process.”

Kevin left his full-time position on the dancing show back in 2020 to pursue a career in musical theatre.

He was set to star in Strictly Ballroom but unfortunately, the pandemic shut down theatre across the UK.

Kevin currently lives with his girlfriend and former Strictly partner Stacey Dooley in London.

The pair tend to keep their relationship out of the spotlight but Kevin recently wished Stacey a happy birthday on his Instagram.

Posting in front of his 360,000 followers, he shared a clip of her dancing and wrote: “Happy Birthday to my beautiful girl @sjdooley”.

You can listen to Kevin’s full podcast here.

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