Ulrika Jonsson posts affectionate message for Gladiators ex-boyfriend James Crossley as he's eliminated from The Circle

ULRIKA Jonsson shared an affectionate message of support to former boyfriend James Crossley yesterday as he got eliminated from The Circle. 

The 53-year-old enjoyed a brief fling with bodybuilder James, 47, while they worked on sport game show Gladiators in 1996. 

Now 25 years later, James, who best known for his alter-ego Hunter on the 90s series, returned to screens to compete on reality show The Circle masquerading as fictional NHS nurse 'Gemma'.

In light of her ex's TV appearance, Ulrika took to her Instagram Story to post screen shots of the hunk alongside messages of support, before he was eliminated from the game show last night.

Captioning the post, which featured a a close up of Crossley's face, she wrote: "It's too late at night for me to watch but he can be cute."

The presenter later shared a second image of James on the show and penned: "… what you saying, cake?"

Ulrika enjoyed a short romance James in 1996 after her divorce from first husband, cameraman John Turnbull, when they appeared on ITV's Gladiators together.

While the Swedish star presented the series alongside John Fashanu, James competed against members of the public in physical challenges as his alter-ego Hunter.

Although their relationship was denied at the time, Ulrika ultimately lifted the lid on their "physical" romance in her 2003 autobiography, Honest. 

She wrote: "Well, I guess I was infatuated with James. It was a physical thing. And what a nice man he turned out to be!"

Meanwhile, fans of The Circle were left in shock last night as Manrika and 'Gemma' finally came face-fo-face after an explosive blocking.

Manrika was unsurprised to learn that NHS nurse Gemma was actually a catfish, with former Gladiator star James, playing the character.

He was eliminated from the competition after Manrika and Andy were once again voted influencers – and chose to pay the former a visit in person before leaving the show.

But the meeting was frosty from the off, with Manrika initially furious by James' game – although she did say she "understood" when he told her he'd planned to donate half of the prize money to the NHS.

The Birmingham beauty snapped: "I’ve been calling you a b***h from day one.

"I said I pray whoever this is is a nurse, I’ll be devastated if they’re not. But I understand why you’ve done what you’ve done."

She insisted that she didn't like Gemma from the start – and things took a turn when she confessed to being the one to anonymously label her "a snake" and "full of s**t" in a previous game.

James was furious, saying that she'd "crossed a line" – and refused to accept her apology.

Manrika admitted to playing a game, and that getting Gemma out of the competition was part of her plan.

After her admission, James had enough and storming out of the room, seething: "Grow up, you know what I mean? Nice to meet you anyway."

Viewers at home were on the edge of their seats with the dramatic fallout and flocked to Twitter to share their reaction, which was divided overall.

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