Strictly Come Dancing's Giovanni Pernice is at the centre of controversy this week, with a former dance colleague accusing him of "horrendous things". Korina Travis, who used to dance with Giovanni at private events, came forward after the Strictly pro defended himself against allegations of unpleasant behaviour towards his Strictly dance partners.

Korina, who was in the running to become a professional on the BBC show in 2016 but missed out out to Chloe Hewitt, said she was pleased people were seeing the 33-year-old Italian for "who he truly is."

Giovanni, who has been paired with the likes of Laura Whitmore, Ranvir Singh, and Amanda Abbington since joining the show in 2015, reportedly quit the long-running dance competition last week, but the BBC released a statement saying the 2024 line-up would "be announced in due course".

Korina Travis
Korina Travis claimed Giovanni Pernice 'did horrendous things' to her

Korina, 29, now works with Burn the Floor, which was co-founded by late Strictly star Robin Windsor, who died in February aged 44. Speaking to The Sun this week, she said: "I've known him [Giovanni] for years as a fellow competitor and he has done horrendous things to me. I will not speak about my experiences with him but I'm glad the world is seeing him for who he truly is. I'll leave it at that."

The controversy surrounding Sicilian Giovanni was sparked by his latest partner Amanda Abbington's comments to friends describing him as "abrasive" during practice sessions. Amanda reportedly suffered from a mild form of PTSD after leaving the show for health reasons.

Adding to the allegations, former Love Island host Laura Whitmore shared her own difficult experience in 2016, saying: "I was placed with a dance partner I was extremely uncomfortable with and in the end I felt broken, I cried every day. And I really was broken, both mentally and physically, by the end."

Sources also claimed to The Sun that even 2021 champ Rose Ayling-Ellis "believes what others are saying" about her ex-dance partner, despite having a "really great experience" with Giovanni. The source claimed: "Rose is finding the whole situation really tough [... she] is really shocked by it all."

"She of course believes what others are saying but she is just trying to not get involved. She won't be speaking about it publicly."

Giovanni Pernice
Giovanni released a statement rejecting the allegations of poor behaviour

On Sunday morning (19 May), Giovanni released a statement on his Instagram account, saying he rejected "any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour".

The statement read: "To my dear fans, You will be as surprised as I am that allegations have been made about my dance teaching methods in the media this week. Of course, I reject any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour, and I look forward to clearing my name.

"Those who have followed my journey on Strictly Come Dancing over the last decade will know that I am passionate and competitive. No-one is more ambitious for my dance partners than me. I have always striven to help them be the very best dancers they can be. This has always come from a place of love and wanting to win - for me and my dance partners."

OK! has reached out to Giovanni's reps for a statement.