It’s not a dating show or even a soap opera, yet love and romance are always at the centre of every season of the UK’s most popular dance competition, Strictly Come Dancing.
So much so, that the term “Strictly curse” has been coined in recent years – a superstition which describes the many high-profile breakups, affairs and romances which happen before, during and after the show year after year.
This year’s competition is set to return to the small screen on 17 September, with celebrities, Fleur East, Kaye Adams, Kym Marsh, and Helen Skleton, confirmed to be taking part.
But, before the couples get their dancing shoes on, here’s a look back at all the relationships that have materialised between Strictly partners of past.
Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna
Hollyoaks actor Ali Bastian and Fortuna started dating in 2009 after starring on Strictly together.
Their relationship was short-lived, and they split in 2010.
Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen
Dancer Kristina Rihanoff and rugby player Ben Cohen were partners on the 2013 series of Strictly.
Cohen was spotted with his arms around Rihanoff on a London underground tube train in September 2014, though the pair denied that they had any romantic involvement at the time.
That same year, Cohen split from his wife of 11-years, Abby.
Cohen and Rihanoff went on to start a relationship and welcomed their first child together, Milena, in 2016.
Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace
Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace were partners on the 2010 series of Strictly.
In January 2013, Cacace announced that the couple were engaged. They married in December of that year.
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
Rachel Riley split from her husband Jamie Gilbert in 2013 during her stint on Strictly.
The following year, Riley announced she was in a relationship with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev.
The Countdown presenter insisted that there had been no overlap between her relationships.
The pair married in 2019 and now have two children, daughters Maven, two, and Noa, 10 months.
Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev
EastEnders actor Kara Tointon started dating her dance partner Artem Chigvintsev during her 2010 appearance on Strictly.
The couple dated for around three years and split in 2013.
Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice
Georgia May Foote split from her Coronation Street co-star Sean Ward shortly after she took part in Strictly in 2015.
Shortly after, she started a relationship with her dance partner, Giovanni Pernice. The new couple split after just eight months, with Foote writing in a statement at the time that they had decided to just be friends.
“It is with great sadness we have decided to split up. There is nobody else involved,“ she said.
“We both have very busy work schedules for the rest of the year so we are both going to focus on our upcoming work projects and we wish each other well for the future.”
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
Stacey Dooley confirmed her romance with Strictly dance partner Kevin Clifton in April 2019.
The news came just one month after Dooley split from her boyfriend of three years, Sam Tucknott.
In August this year, Dooley confirmed that she and Clifton were expecting their first child together.
“Gaaaaaaang.....We are having a baby!” Dooley said. “So bloody delighted. Kev, you’re magic, I love youuuu.”
Katya Jones and Seann Walsh
In 2018, photographs emerged of dancer Katya Jones – who was married to fellow dancer Neil Jones at the time – kissing her celebrity dance partner, comedian Seann Walsh. Walsh was also in a relationship with actor Rebecca Humphries at the time.
Both Jones and Walsh apologised following the kiss and described it as a “one-off drunken mistake”.
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Strictly partners Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell made it to the final in 2018. Shortly after the competition ended, Sugg announced they were in a relationship in a post to his Instagram.
“I may not have won the Glitterball, but I’ve won something a million times more special,” he wrote.
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