Simone Ashley pledges support to 'inspiring' Nicola Coughlan

Simone Ashley is "inspired" by Nicola Coughlan and "really believes" in her.

The 29-year-old actress has offered her support to her 'Bridgerton' co-star in the wake of the body shaming she has experienced since stepping to the forefront of the period drama as her character Penelope Featherington takes centre stage in season three opposide Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton.

Speaking at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco earlier this month, Simone - who plays Kate Bridgerton - praised her friend for ignoring her critics and embracing a positive attitude.

She said: "Yeah, the haters are going to hate, and I think we can all relate to that, but I really don't think that she's allowing that to bother her.

"She has a strong and fruitful career and entire life ahead of her. And I really believe in her, as the world does as well.

"I think Nicola is just absolutely flying. She is a gorgeous, strong, confident, intelligent woman, seeing her do this press tour and spread so much joy and inspiration to everyone — especially women — all over the world.

"And I'm inspired by her as well. She's also a really kind human being, and I think that's such a universal language that people can relate to."

Earlier this month, Nicola hit back at online claims her waist had been "photoshopped" to look slimmer on the show.

She told People magazine: “I saw some trolls. They were like, ‘They photoshopped your waist,’ and I was like, ‘No, they did not.'

“I think if you wear corsetry for long enough, your body really moulds to it.

“Sometimes they come in for a fitting for a fashion designer and they put a corset on me and I'm like, ‘Oh, you can go tight,’ and they go, ‘What do you mean?’ I'm like, 'My body now will go, 'Whew.' "

The 37-year-old actress also laughed off comments she was "very brave" to strip off on the show.

During a fan event in Dublin, she said: "You know, I think it is hard, because I think women with my body type — women with perfect breasts — we don't get to see ourselves on screen enough.

“I am a very proud member of the perfect breasts community, and I hope you enjoy seeing them."