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Rylan recalls ‘horrendous’ aftermath of Lucy Spraggan rape during The X Factor

Rylan has shared some insight into the harrowing ordeal of Lucy Spraggan being sexually assaulted during their season competing on The X Factor.

The presenter and media personality finished fifth on the 2012 series of the now-defunct ITV singing competition with singer-songwriter Spraggan, who was 20.

Spraggan, now 32, revealed last year that she was raped by a hotel porter who broke into her room after a night out for Rylan’s 24th birthday, and subsequently left the competition as she recovered from treatment. The porter was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Since sharing her story with the public, Spraggan has named Rylan, 35, as someone who offered vital support at that time and was one of the few people who knew what she was dealing with.

In a new interview with The Guardian, the occasional This Morning host reflected on the “horrendous” experience, explaining that he’d never previously discussed it because “it’s not my story to tell, even though I was part of it”.

Spraggan has commended Rylan for his actions on the night of her attack, and has stated her belief that his management of the situation was crucial to her attacker’s conviction.

Rylan spoke of being surprised at his handling of the situation, himself. “As a 24-year-old – it was the night of my birthday – to wake up to your friend saying, ‘I was raped last night,’ while being on the biggest show in the country, while being followed by the press wherever you go… I don’t know how I did it,” he noted.

“I don’t know what happened. Lucy calls me Jessica Fletcher because I came over all Angela Lansbury.”

Rylan and Lucy Spraggan (Getty)
Rylan and Lucy Spraggan (Getty)

After explaining that he first sternly instructed the researchers to contact the higher-ups, Clark recounted how he preserved the crime scene by telling Spraggan to refuse a hotel room cleaning that day.

“If someone goes in that room and it’s cleaned, we’re f***ed: that was my first thought. I became like a crime detective and I don’t know why that was.”

At the time, Clark and Spraggan were staying at a different hotel than their fellow contestants, including the likes of eventual winner James Arthur and runner-up Jahméne Douglas, as an apparent punishment for trouble-making.

“I don’t think that should have happened,” Rylan noted. “We didn’t have as much security as we were used to. Me and Lucy have had this conversation for years because we’re the only two who can talk to each other about it.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for The X Factor said: “To our knowledge, the assault was an event without precedent in the UK television industry. While we believed throughout that we were doing our best to support Lucy in the aftermath of the ordeal, as Lucy thinks we could have done more, we must therefore recognise this. For everything Lucy has suffered, we are extremely sorry. Since then, we have done our very best to learn lessons from these events and improve our aftercare processes.”

Rylan Clark and Lucy Spraggan attend The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2021 (Getty Images)
Rylan Clark and Lucy Spraggan attend The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2021 (Getty Images)

When speaking to The Independent in 2022, Rylan seemed to refer to Spraggan’s experience, while also noting that his own experience of being an X Factor contestant came with difficulties.

“When I was a contestant, a lot of things happened that I wouldn’t let happen to me now,” he explained. “It’s not my story to tell but I’m sure that people will know what happened at some point.

“I just know that I did everything right. All I can say from being on the other side is that I make sure, with all the shows I work on, people are looked after and maybe that comes from a place of being in situations where I didn’t feel that I was.

“When I used to do Big Brother, I’d go and see all the housemates after they went in and would always make sure they were OK. I f***ing married one, for God’s sake,” he noted, referring to his ex-husband and former Big Brother contestant Dan Neal.

An X Factor spokesperson said: “Duty of care to our contestants is of the utmost importance to us. We take the welfare of anyone involved in our programmes extremely seriously and have thorough and robust measures in place to ensure everyone feels supported. These measures are under constant review and are adaptable to reflect the unique requirements for each series.”

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)