If you’ve heard of Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll most likely have heard about the rather scandalous ‘Strictly curse’.
The so-called ‘Strictly curse’ rears its ugly head almost every year on the BBC show, breaking apart relationships, either during or shortly after the series draws to a close. There are countless Strictly Come Dancing affairs to report, while other Strictly relationships have broken down as a result of appearing the show.
Strictly co-host Claudia Winkleman has also offered up her thoughts on the curse, acknowledging that the nature of the show can be “intoxicating”.
However, she confessed that she doesn’t believe in a ‘curse’ as such – simply that the intense environment can foster intimate relationships…oo-er!
Speaking to The Sun, she said, “I don’t believe in the curse, but I think lots of people have come in single and they might have met somebody or had a little romance. It’s intoxicating, Strictly, because you’re all part of this extraordinary juggernaut. So I don’t think people fall in love with people, they might just love the experience.”
Legendary former Strictly pro Brendan Cole has also shared his opinion on the ‘curse’, saying that unlike Claudia, he’s actually convinced it’s real thing.
Speaking to Fabulous magazine, the 41-year-old suggested that the curse is now a hard fact to deny, given the amount of make-ups and break-ups the show has seen over the years.
He admitted, “It’s definitely a thing. You can’t deny it after all these years of seeing different people falling in love. It’s a great curse. I love the curse.
“It’s the nature of the beast that if you work closely with somebody, love is going to blossom, and hopefully the people involved are single. Every year you’re guaranteed some smoke somewhere.” Ooh!
So which Strictly Come Dancing romances really have been hit by the spooky curse? From broken engagements to broken hearts, we delve into the history of the Strictly curse and look at the truth behind the rumours…
2019, Kelvin Fletcher
The Emmerdale star, who won the 2019 series of the dancing competition, has been hit by rumours of marriage troubles recently.
Kelvin and his dance partner Oti Mabuse were pictured out having a drink with their fellow Strictly cast-mates and celebrities, and the following night, were seen at 3am having a solo drink, just the two of them.
The following day, his wife Eliza Marsland was spotted out without her wedding ring, with the news that she had also unfollowed her husband on Instagram.
However, there may not necessarily be trouble in paradise, with Eliza confirming on her social media the next day that it was a 'fake tan day', so she had simply taken her wedding ring off for that reason.
The couple haven't commented on the rumours further, but were spotted kissing just days after Eliza took off her wedding ring. So it seems the rumours may have been just that - watch this space...
2018, Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
The comedian was paired last year with professional dancer Katya Jones. Both has separate partners, with Seann dating actress Rebecca Humphries for 5 years, while Katya was married to dancer and Strictly choreographer Neil Jones.
But the Strictly curse seemed to hit, with pictures surfacing of the two kissing outside a London pub.
Both Sean and Katya issued public apologies, taking to their social media accounts to admit that it was a drunken kiss, and despite how it looked in the photos, both Seann and Katya were happy with their partners.
However, despite the statement, Rebecca publicly dumped Seann via a statement on Twitter, while Katya and Neil recently called it a day on their marriage.
2017, Kevin and Karen Clifton
Former married couple Kevin and Karen and both pro dancers on the show. Sadly, it seems they haven’t been exempt from the effects of Strictly either.
Reports flew that the pair were no longer together, but they put on a united display during the live shows, when Kevin thanked his wife for dealing with him as he admitted he wasn’t the “easiest person” while training for the programme.
However soon after, the couple have confirmed their sad split. In an interview on BBC Radio 2, Kevin confessed, “Privately we are not together anymore but professionally we are stronger than ever before.”
He added, “We’re still the best of friends – we still have a lot of love and respect for each other.
“What we’ve found is that since we’ve been honest with each other it’s unlocked our creativity.”
Karen also praised her ex, saying: “We have such strong chemistry and it’s about entertaining and inspiring. At the end of the day it’s about giving back to fans. We’re feeling very positive.”
2016, Louise Redknapp and Jamie Redknapp
Another famous face to be hit by rumours of the Strictly curse is Louise Redknapp, a runner-up in the 2016 show. She had been married to former football pro Jamie for 10 years. But rumours dogged the pair since about the state of their relationship following her appearance on the show.
Louise previously claimed that the Strictly curse wasn’t likely to affect them, saying “We laughed about it. After so many years it’ll take more than Strictly and a sparkly leotard to cause problems. Plus, Kevin is married to the hottest dancer on the show!”
But now, of course, the pair have confirmed that they are divorced, after Louise admitted that the show made her realise she no longer wanted to be a “Stepford wife”.
She told The Telegraph, “I became a sort of Stepford Wife, wanting to be perfect at it. It was only when I agreed to do Strictly Come Dancing that I realised I couldn’t just go back to that.”
2016, Joanne Clifton and boyfriend Joseph Edward-Bader
She had a professional high when she won the show in 2016 with Ore Oduba, but Joanne Clifton’s experienced a tough time in her personal life.
Reportedly, the pro dancer split from her long-term boyfriend Joseph Edward-Bader back in 2017, following her time on the show.
2015, Giovanni Pernice and Georgia May Foote
In 2015’s series, this couple caused waves as their relationship heated up on (and off!) screen.
Georgia and Giovanni met when they were paired up to dance together on the show, while Georgia was still in a relationship with her ex Corrie co-star Sean Ward, who played Callum Logan.
However, things came to a head during Georgia’s time on Strictly, and the pair split up. Shortly after, Georgia announced that she and Giovanni were dating.
The pretty-looking pair called time on their relationship just a year after competing on the show though, and Giovanni recently came out of a relationship with Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts.
2013, Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen
Perhaps one of the most famous affairs on the show so far. Ben’s relationship was hit by the Strictly curse soon after the show, when he broke off his marriage to Abby Blayney, who he’d been with for 23 years.
And understandably, Abby was devastated. During divorce proceedings, she was reported as saying, “I’m Ben Cohen’s ex-wife. If it wasn’t for that woman me and Ben would still be married. But so what? I’m moving on.”
Ben and Kristina got together shortly after they finished competing in the show, and have recently welcomed a baby daughter, Milena.
2009, Kristina Rihanoff and Joe Calzaghe
But it wasn’t the first time Kristina had a relationship with a man on the show. In 2009, she and boxer Joe got close, and he split up with his girlfriend Jo-Emma Larvin soon after beginning the competition. However, the couple split in 2013, shortly before she met Ben.
2013, Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
The Countdown star is famous for her intellect. But it was her moves on the dance-floor that won her a new boyfriend, in the form of one of the most popular former dancers on the show, Pasha.
Before entering the dancing competition in 2013, Rachel was married to millionaire Jamie Gilbert. The pair met at Oxford University, and married in 2012.
Throughout the show, the couple denied rumours of anything going on. But shortly after the show, in 2014, the pair announced they were together. They’ve been with each other ever since, and recently tied the knot. And now they've welcomed a baby, too! Little Mave was born in December 2019.
Speaking about the so-called curse previously, Rachel admitted that the show can have an effect on relationships. She said, “I don’t think there’s a Strictly curse, but it does serve as a magnifying glass that shows up pre-existing fault lines. Jamie and I had been with one another since I was 19, and we are still good friends, it was all amicable and he’s been brilliant.”
2007, Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace
Professional dancer Flavia ended her relationship with fellow Strictly pro Vincent Simone after meeting Matt – former Eastenders star – while partnered together on the show in 2007.
They were together for three years, until Flavia ended the relationship to date someone else…
2010, Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace
…Her 2010 partner on the show Jimi Mistry, no less! Just weeks after ending her relationship with Matt, Jimi and Flavia announced they were together.
But don’t panic, because it all worked out for the best in the end. Jimi and Flavia are now married, and have been since 2013. So maybe a Strictly blessing-in-disguise is perhaps a better term?!
2010, Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev
The couple got together whilst on the show in 2010. But sadly the Strictly curse worked it’s magic yet again. Things clearly weren’t set to last between the couple, who split in 2013.
2009, Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna
Happily, this relationship started off a bit better than most of the others! The actress and dancer were both single when they were on the show, and got together during their time on it.
But sadly, the curse hit the pair, and they split a year later. Is no one safe?!
2004, Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
Ah, the first couple touched by the curse of Strictly. The pair waltzed their way to victory in the very first series of the show. But they were hounded by rumours of their romance throughout the entire competition.
The pair have never actually confirmed their romance. Natasha was single at the time. But Brendan did suffer a split with his fiancé – fellow professional dancer Camilla Dallerup, because of the supposed affair. Brendan and Camilla had been together for eight years.
In 2015, Camilla told the Daily Star, “to this day I have no idea whether it was her fame and celebrity that swept him away or if he really did feel a strong connection with her. I’m guessing it was probably a bit of both. It felt as if the fact that we’d just got engaged meant nothing to either of them.
“What was really hurtful was not just that Brendan appeared to have forgotten he was engaged, the entire nation seem to have forgotten he was engaged.”
What do you think? Is there really a Strictly curse? Or is it merely a case of bad luck? Let us know!
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Amy is Senior Digital Writer across Woman & Home, GoodTo and Woman, writing about everything from celebrity news to health, fashion and beauty features. When she isn't obsessing over the latest dress drop from Marks & Spencer, you'll most likely find Amy out running, or with a cup of tea in hand ready to dive into a gripping new Netflix series.
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