Seann Walsh: Strictly scandal with Katya Jones, ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries statement - what did he do?

Is getting pally with Matt Hancock in the jungle the best way to revitalise a public image?

I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! star Seann Walsh has said he wants "move on" after cheating with Katya Jones on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018.

In October 2018, he was photographed kissing Jones, with whom he was partnered on the hit BBC ballroom dancing show. Walsh was in a relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries at the time, and Jones was married to Neil Jones, another Strictly professional dancer.

Walsh has said that while in the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! camp, he wants the programme to be a “positive experience” and that he is “very sorry” for his behaviour.

He told The Bush Telegraph: “That’s something in my life that I don’t want to go back to. Obviously I knew it would come up.

“I just want to be clear that I’m very sorry about what happened and I really want this to be a positive experience and it really has been. I want to come out of here and move forward.”

But just why was the incident such a career turning point for Walsh? The ‘Strictly Curse’ is nothing new, and while that in no way excuses infidelity on the show, Walsh’s case led to much wider condemnation than other similar incidents.

Here is everything you need to know.

Why did the incident damage his career so much?

(Images: Getty Images/BBC/ITV/Twitter)

Before the scandal, Walsh was a successful stand-up comedian, touring the country with multiple successful shows and appearing on TV comedy staples like Live at the Apollo and Mock The Week.

But since the Strictly scandal, his popularity has suffered. Why is that?

On Thursday (10 November), Walsh told fellow campmate Sue Cleaver about being on the front page of national publications at the time.

Soap actress Cleaver said: “Why did that crucify you? Why did that have such an impact?” to which Walsh replied, “To be totally honest, my girlfriend (at the time) posted a statement and that was the end of me.”

In the wake of the images of Walsh and Katya Jones’ shared kiss being made public, actress Rebecca Humphries - with whom Walsh was in a relationship at the time - released a statement.

“Those pictures were taken on October 3,” she said. “It was my birthday. I was alone at home when Sean texted at 10pm saying the two of them were going for one innocent drink.

“We spoke and I told him, not for the first time, that his actions over the past three weeks had led me to believe something inappropriate was going on.”

Is Walsh a ‘gaslighter’?

Humphries’ statement effectively opened up a nationwide conversation on gaslighting - a form of emotional abuse in which the truth is distorted in order to confuse or make another person doubt their sanity or reality - when she accused Walsh of “aggressively and repeatedly” calling her “a psycho/nuts/mental.”

The actress said this was something Walsh had done “countless times throughout our relationship when I’ve questioned his inappropriate, hurtful behaviour.”

At the time, following the rising visibility of the #MeToo movement - particularly in the wake of the widespread exposure of accusations of predatory behaviour by film producer Harvey Weinstein the previous year - the emotional and psychological treatment of women by men in positions of power was high on the social agenda, and Walsh’s actions were framed as much more than just another case of the ‘Strictly Curse’.

Gaslighting is now called out and spoken about much more readily than it was a few years ago, and while that change can’t be linked 100% to Walsh’s actions, it’s true that the Strictly Come Dancing scandal of 2018 helped to raise awareness of such damaging behaviours.

Humphries’ statement continued: “I have a voice and will use it by saying this to any woman out there who deep down feels worthless and trapped with a man they love.”

“Believe in yourself and your instincts. It’s more than lying. It’s controlling. Tell some very close friends who, if they’re anything like my wonderful network, will swoop in and take care of the logistics and of you.

“It’s important also to recognise that in these situations those who hold power over you are insecure and fragile, and their need for control comes from a place of vulnerability.”

What has Walsh said about the incident?

Speaking to Cleaver about the incident back at jungle camp, Walsh added: “I said sorry. I sat on (The Jonathan Ross Show) and apologised. I sat next to Will.i.am and Samuel L Jackson and apologised. That will forever be the weirdest moment of my life and I have to say probably the worst moment of my life.”

Walsh characterised the episode as a "trauma" for him in a March 2022 interview, in which he also revealed how he sought treatment for depression and anxiety to help him cope with the aftermath.