No reason was given, but after missing Saturday’s show (21 October) for “medical reasons”, Abbington shared a quote about mental health while addressing her absence.
Now, in a new statement shared on Tuesday (24 October), the 49-year-old cited “personal reasons” as the cause of her departure. “It is with deepest regret that I had to leave Strictly,” she wrote. “I did not come to this decision easily or lightly but for personal reasons I am unable to continue.
“It was an absolute joy working with my fellow contestants, they are a beautiful, hardworking and talented group of people who I love and who I will miss seeing every Friday and Saturday and competing alongside.”
She went on to thank the production team and “everyone on Strictly who looked after me and who are so kind and caring”.
However, one person Abbington did not single out was her professional dance partner, Giovanni Pernice.
Just one day earlier, when news of Abbington’s departure from the series was officially announced on Strictly companion show It Takes Two, Pernice hailed his celebrity partner, writing: “Amanda … I am so sad we can’t continue but I am proud of what we achieved and I am sending you so much love.”
He also shared a heart emoji in response to her post addressing the news, but Abbington’s failure to mention Pernice has raised eyebrows among fans of the show.
While Pernice’s post was accompanied by a jovial photo of the pair wearing Christmas pyjamas, Abbington’s photo simply showed her dancing shoes.
“I think Amanda you have forgotten somebody there, what about a mention for your partner??” one follower replied, with others calling the omission “strange” and “odd”.
The posts have fuelled rumours of a behind-the-scenes feud. The Independent has contacted Abbington and Pernice for comment.
Previously, when contestants have withdrawn from the show, they have always thanked their dance partner.
In 2021, when Peep Show star Robert Webb quit due to ill health, he said he “couldn’t have wished for a more talented partner or more patient teacher” than Diane Buswell, while Tony Adams said about Katya Jones, after pulling his hamstring, in 2021: “I suppose I had better mention this one, hadn’t I? She is an exceptional human being, she really is.”
It’s worth noting, however, that Abbington thanked Pernice in a post after making it through to week five last week. “@giovannipernice thank you! Ya beauty,” she wrote.
Since Abbington’s decision was announced, her fellow contestants have sent her messages of well wishes.
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 28 October at 6.40pm on BBC One.