Dancing On Ice star Ian ‘H’ Watkins has opened up about receiving horrific homophobic abuse.
The Steps singer is paired with professional partner Matt Evers on the ITV series, the first same-sex pairing on the show.
And while there’s been much praise for the duo’s performances so far, a handful have been very vocal in making their disapproval known.
Ian said this week: “The reaction was incredible – a lot of the comments were overwhelmingly supportive, but when people call you hideous names and say things like ‘it’s not natural’ or “you’re a f****t’, all of those awful names, for me, they’re a dagger in my heart.”
He told HuffPost UK: “I think the world has progressed and changed so much, but those kinds of people still exist and will come into contact with my children.
“And those bigots will breed more bigots and we’re bigger and better than that now, as a society. It’s changed so much, but there’s still a small minority that breeds negativity and it’s hideous. ”
Dancing On Ice received 16 official complaints to TV watchdog after Ian and Matt’s first same sex routine.
The numbers pale into insignificance given over 5 million watched the show, but Ian confessed he was still hurt by the objections.
He said: “It hurts, because 16 people were offended so much by two guys dancing on ice together – it’s not like we were ripping each other’s clothes off and snogging. It’s crazy!”
Dancing On Ice continues this Sunday night when Ian and Matt will dance live again for the judges.
He previously told hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield: “I have wanted this for so long and it means so much to so many people and the world is ready for this.”
Dancing On Ice airs live at 6PM on ITV on Sunday night.
All eleven remaining couples will dance a musicals themed performance before one more celebrity is eliminated.