Viewers were rapt during last week’s Dancing on Ice as former The Only Way is Essex star Gemma, 37, pulled up judge Jason on his comments about her in a national newspaper.
Wowing fans with her attempts at skating to a Beyonce hit in the first week of the ITV competition, Gemma returned to dance a second time with her professional partner Matt Evers.
But the pair’s efforts fell flat the second time, all in the middle of reports Gemma hadn’t been turning up to rehearsals during the week.
When Jason launched into his criticism of her style on the ice and skating however, Gemma refused to hold back.
The reality television star hit out at the judge for his actions, saying maybe she “wouldn’t be so upset this week” and as a result struggling to focus on her training.
Unfazed, Jason simply told Gemma she “wasn’t helping her case” on the show, and presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby sorted to stay out of the drama.
Now though, fellow judge Ashley Banjo, 30, has spoken out on Jason’s actions, saying he respected him for always staying true to himself.
In an interview with Express.co.uk at the National Television Awards, Ashley laughed at the memory of the drama.
“Do you know what, in the kind of fire of everything, I didn’t even hear Jason say Gemma ‘wouldn’t be able to do lifts’,” he shared. “All I heard was Jason giving it to the team and then obviously Gemma.
“At the time I thought you know, Jason was being his normal honest self, and then Gemma obviously felt a certain way, she got emotional about what had been in the press.
“So she just let it out on him,” the Diversity dancer continued. “So it’s kind of – Jason’s being honest, Gemma’s being honest about how she felt, so it kind of depends what version of the story you get.
“[But] I don’t think Jason regrets anything.”
Ashley went on to say he’s always been open about his feelings on Jason’s methods on the show, claiming if he ever thought the Australian went too far he would tell him there and then.
“No every time I have a little word with him you see me do it on camera,” he said. “If Jason gives a low score I’ll go to him, ‘Jase that’s a bit harsh.’
“One of the things I’ll say about Jason, is he’s honest with himself, if he thinks it, no matter what he thinks other people will think of it, he will say it.
“And you have to respect that about him.”
Ashley added he thinks he has the “easy job” as a judge on the competition, and doesn’t envy the amount of work the celebrities have to put in every week just to get to a passable standard.
The star also said he believes Gemma can win the entire competition if she puts the effort in, and the “proof is in the skate”.