AJ Odudu is ‘gutted’ about missing Strictly tour and friends are rallying around her

AJ Odudu is said to be “gutted” that she’s had to drop out of the Strictly Come Dancing live tour and is being comforted by pals who are rallying around the devastated star.

The 33 year old announced she was having to pull out of the tour due to a foot injury earlier this month.

AJ tore a ligament in her right ankle in December during her preparations for the 2021 Strictly final.

She was due to perform on the tour with her professional partner Kai Widdrington, but she has now been replaced by former EastEnders actress and 2020 finalist Maisie Smith.

And a source exclusively told OK! that not being able to take part in the tour has left AJ "absolutely shattered”.

They told us: “AJ is absolutely shattered, she's gutted. She did so well and is really feeling hurt but she knows it's one of those ‘What can you do?' things."

Friends are said to be supporting the star during her tough time, while her fellow Strictly co-stars have been reaching out to her on social media.

The source continued: “She is very down and friends are rallying around her because she needs to snap out of it, it's just life. They're telling her everything happens for a reason but she can't see the reason.

“This was her massive opportunity and she's missing out."

But things have also been looking up for AJ and she's been trying not to dwell on her sadness after recently announcing an exciting new project.

The Don't Rock The Boat co-host is in Vietnam to film a new show for Channel 4.

"Enjoy partner!!! Have an amazing time," Kai, who is now partnered with Maisie, wrote on Instagram after AJ announced the news.

The presenter replied to the dancer's comment with a series of heart emojis, while Kai's fellow pro Nancy Xu commented on her post with purple hearts.

As well as Maisie and Kai, those taking part in the tour include 2021 winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, Nancy with her partner Rhys Stephenson, Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin and 2020 contestant Max George, who is partnered with pro Katya Jones.

Announcing her sadness at being forced out of the tour, AJ said: "I'm devastated not to be able to take part in the Strictly tour due to injury.

"I had hoped for one last dance with Kai, but I must obviously follow the medical advice."

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She added: "I wish my Strictly family the very best of luck on the road and I'll definitely be there to cheer them on."

AJ’s ankle injury also forced her out of the Strictly final.

This left Rose and John to battle it out for the Strictly Glitterball, with EastEnders actress Rose, who plays Frankie Lewis, lifting the trophy.

It was the first time her partner, Italian Giovanni, had won the show after joining the series in 2015.

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