Former Emmerdale star Roxanne Pallett has apologised and said she “got it wrong” after she claimed that actor Ryan Thomas punched her in the Celebrity Big Brother house.
The actress previously alleged Thomas “punched me like a boxer would punch a bag” but has now said she could see his actions were not deliberate.
In her first interview after quitting the reality show on Saturday, she told Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine: “At the time it hurt. But when I looked back on that footage as soon as I left the house – the first thing I did was view that clip – and I got it wrong, I really got it wrong.
“After it happened I just felt like, I don’t know how to explain… my mind ran away with me.
“I’m a sensitive person, my friends and family can vow to that, everything in that house was so heightened, a look, a comment, an action.
“Your insecurities are heightened, your sensitivities, the only thing I can explain is it was, in the moment, it felt worse than it was.
“I can’t prove a feeling. I can’t show you a feeling. It was the word ‘deliberately’ that I regret."
Coronation Street star Thomas was left in tears after Pallett claimed he hurt her by punching her, which many viewers defended as merely play fighting.
She said: “I massively apologise to not just Ryan but to his family and friends and his fans and every single person who watched that and completely and justifiably saw an overreaction to what wasn’t a malicious act.
“In that moment, because I am sensitive and I was emotional, I mistook what was playful.
“He did apologise, and he did say his ring caught me. It was the word ‘deliberate’ that I regret because I doubted his intention and there was no malicious intention behind that and that is what I apologise for because I shouldn’t have questioned his motivation.”
When confronted with the possibility that had there had not been cameras there to show what happened, the accusation could have ended his career, Pallett said: “He couldn’t disprove his intention and I couldn’t disprove or prove a feeling.
“But since I’ve been out of the house the first thing I did was look at the clip and speak to my family and reflect in a normal environment, because it wasn’t a normal environment.
“My judgment was clouded, my sensitivity was heightened, I wasn’t thinking straight and that is something I’m going to have to go away and work on to become a better person.”
Speaking about the impact the incident could have on victims of abuse, she said: “I’ve actually been a victim of domestic violence years ago, I’ve spoken out about this briefly.
“I’ve worked with Women’s Aid because of my own experience and perhaps they were right in their recent comment that my reaction is perhaps a telltale sign of that fact that I have been in a situation like that in my life.
“I have become conditioned, I am over-sensitive to certain things because of things like that, but I am devastated and would be mortified to think that even one person out there felt that I had discredited or undermined abuse because that was not my intention.”
A spokesperson for Women's Aid released a statement in support of Pallett's behaviour in the CBB house.
“Play fighting may not seem serious but if you have been in an abusive relationship it can seem frightening and even trigger memories of the abuse.
"Domestic abuse means you don’t feel safe in your home environment, and as a woman who has previously spoken about being in a violent and abusive relationship, Roxanne clearly did not feel comfortable going to sleep in the same room as someone who had physically hurt her, even if that was not his intention."
Ryan Thomas's girlfriend and former star of The Only Way Is Essex, Lucy Mecklenburgh, has defended her partner over Pallett's accusations.
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, she said: "He wouldn't hurt a fly, its been so hard because we know the truth, but for him to go through this and to think everyone outside thinks he's a woman beater is awful.
"It's been hard, I haven't slept much." Mecklenburgh added that she believes the claims could have been damaging for her boyfriend had the incident not been caught on film.
"If there wasn't a camera it would have been damaging, if it hadn't happened in Big Brother, it could have been anywhere, but lucky it has had an adverse effect."
Pallett also claimed that she has had to go off Twitter because of the abuse she has received online, saying: “I’ve had to take a massive step back from everything in my life, I can’t look at it.
“But I don’t blame everyone, I understand, if I had been at home watching this I would have been confused by my reaction.”
Pallett denied suggestions she was doing the interview in order to protect her career.
She said: “I chose to be here today. In fact I was advised not to. I’m not getting paid for this interview, I wasn’t told to do this interview. In fact it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, to come here today.
“It’s affected my family, my friends, people that have detached themselves from me. This is my reality now. I’m here today to acknowledge a mistake.”
Pallett also responded to further allegations made by her former co-stars against her, saying: “I think we all make friends and enemies along the way in life and in jobs.
“Unfortunately when you make mistakes there’s a lot of people who want to contribute to the backlash.”