BRIAN McFadden's professional Dancing On Ice partner, Alex Murphy, has heaped praise on Gemma Collins - revealing that she was branded "too big" to be a professional ice skater.
The 30-year-old star admitted that she was "proud" of the Towie star - adding that seeing Gemma, 37, successfully perform her routine made her feel emotional.
"All of those who say she can't do it, or that her weight was a disadvantage, all those awful remarks - Gemma still did it."
Speaking about her own personal experience in the ice skating world, Alex continued: "I'm a bigger girl and have had a lot of scrutiny because of my size.
"It's tough. They want you to be really small and it's obviously harder to be lifted up as a bigger girl, a girl with curves.
"So for me to see Gemma do it is inspiring.
"I am 110% behind her and when I watch her it tugs on my heartstrings."
Alex revealed that she even faced backlash when she returned to the ITV show last year after a four year break, with fans slamming the company's decision to "hire a bigger girl".
She added: "I have faced a lot of: 'You can't do that'."
Over the years Gemma, who is favourite to win the skating show, has been the victim of cruel trolls and in recent weeks the nasty comments have escalated as she appears on Dancing On Ice.
But the reality star's pal, Jonathan Cheban, recently told The Sun Online that the GC doesn't let negative trolls affect her.
He said: "The best part about Gemma is that she doesn’t care about what people think.
"She doesn’t care about what people think, they are just at home miserable, talking c*** and she is living her best life!"
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Jonathan flew to the UK to watch Gemma's DOI debut at the weekend - and he was "impressed" by her skills.
The US Food God added: "I didn't think she even knew how to ice skate. She was doing splits and stuff.
"I think she did great. She's not as light as a feather, as they say, so for her to move around like that on the ice was really impressive."
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