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Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds reveals she was adopted

Strictly Come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds reveals she was adopted as she’s emotionally reunited with birth mother

Tuesday 27 Jun 2023 7:04 am

The Paralympian undertakes an emotional journey (Picture: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for The National Lottery)

Strictly Come Dancing star and Paralympian Ellie Simmonds has revealed that she was adopted at the age of the three-months-old.

The 28-year-old has now been reunited with her birth mother, after finding out she was put up for adoption at 10 days old.

The Paralympic gold-medal winning swimmer, who starred on Strictly with Nikita Kuzmin, opens up about her journey to find her birth mother in a new ITV documentary.

Ellie, who was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, tragically discovers that her mum wished she had died at birth, and told medics that she thought Ellie would be seen as ‘evil’.

But, the pair are now rebuilding their relationship, after an emotional five-hour meeting for the first time.

‘Until now, it’s never emotionally affected me, it never made me feel rejected or ask why do my birth parents not want me,’ she says in the documentary, in quotes obtained by the Mirror.

Ellie starred on Strictly with Nikita Kuzmin (Picture: David Fisher/Shutterstock)

‘I’ve been so focussed on the future and never thought about it.’

‘One of the reasons for being given up for adoption is dwarfism and maybe it can be a factor of why my personality is like it is, because of that rejection at the start,’ she continues.

During the journey to discover her birth parents, Ellie reads hospital forms confirming that she had achondroplasia.

The form tells her birth mother that her daughter would have a ‘large skull and depressed nasal bridge’ and that children with the condition ‘tend to be muscular and acrobatic, which is perhaps the reason for them traditionally being involved in the circus and other forms of theatre’.

Ellie says: ‘Can you imagine reading that and thinking, “That’s my child”? In a way, I understand, when you don’t know anything about the disability and you get this. You’re going to be scared.’

The social worker report also describes that Ellie’s birth mother ‘feels very guilty regarding Eleanor’s disability and wishes she had an abortion, or that Eleanor had died.’

Ellie, who was put up for adoption at 10 days old, discovers her birth mother in a new ITV documentary (Picture: PA)

In the documentary, Ellie who also gets in touch with the family of her late foster mother, who had seen her on television and in sport, knowing that was the Ellie who she helped to raise, reads an emotional letter from her birth mother.

It says: ‘I’ve suffered with guilt and self-hatred for not being strong enough to cope. I cannot express the happiness I feel to know your parents and siblings have provided you with such a loving environment, that you’re so happy. You’ve achieved so much.’

After the pair met for the first time, Ellie says: ‘It was amazing. I didn’t realise the time was passing by.’

She adds: ‘What touched my heart was she said she thinks about me every day, and she still sees me as her daughter.

‘It’s helped with finding out who I am, looking at someone who birthed me, the nature I’m from, it makes you a bit more whole.

‘Questions I’ve carried for years have been answered. I’m proud of my life and I love my family, and maybe that family just got a bit bigger.’

Ellie Simmonds: Finding My Secret Family airs on ITV1 on Thursday, July 6 at 9pm.

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