The Strictly curse explained – from Seann Walsh and Katya Jones to Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell

STRICTLY Come Dancing is almost as famous for the breakdown of some of its contestants' relationships as it is for its foxtrot.

Here we take a look at all the break-ups, make-ups, divorces and engagements the show has seen over the years in what fans call the "Strictly Curse".

What is the Strictly curse?

The "curse" is a phenomenon that hits celebrities and their dance partners during their time on Strictly Come Dancing.

Due to the harsh schedules, sexy dance moves and close quarters with their partners, their off-screen romances sometimes suffer as a result.

Strictly became regarded as "cursed" after a series of very public break-ups from show participants – and ever since, more and more fan favourites have succumbed.

Over the course of 17 series of the BBC favourite, nearly a dozen couples have split up thanks to their time on the show.

Who has fallen victim to the Strictly curse so far?

Here is a list of celebrities and dancers who have appeared on the show and split with a loved one shortly after…

Neil and Katya Jones

On August 18, 2019 it was revealed that Katya and her husband Neil Jones had split – ten months after the Russian dancer was pictured kissing dance partner Seann Walsh.

The pair, who married in 2013, confirmed the break-up on Instagram.

In a joint statement, they said: "Hi everyone. As our fans and loyal supporters you are really important to us and so we wanted to let you know some news. After 11 years we have made the mutual decision to separate.

"We will always love each other, just in a different way as friends. This will never change what a great team we make and we are really proud of everything we have achieved together.

"Our shared love of dance means we will keep working and dancing together as well as exploring individual projects. No matter what we do we will always support and respect each other.

"We wish one another every happiness and we will remain the best of friends. We are really looking forward to getting back to the ballroom and can't wait to keep on dancing. Lots of love from us both xx"

Stacey Dooley

On March 27, 2019, The Sun exclusively revealed Strictly champ Stacey, 32, had split from her long-term boyfriend of three years.

They became the fourteenth couple to break up after one partner appeared on the hit show.

A source said: “Stacey confided in her friends that she was struggling to hold down her romance with Sam because her life has been a whirlwind after Strictly.

“She barely saw him during the month-long tour and has gone straight back into filming documentaries and has been travelling all over the world.

“Their lives have just gone in different directions.

“They have a close circle of friends who hope things might yet work out but it’s not looking likely. It was very emotional and has been tough on them both.”

Their split came just three months after The Sun exclusively revealed how Stacey and personal trainer Sam, 30, had been struggling to cope while she was on tour.

And the journalist's close friendship with dance partner Kevin, 36, also prompted comments from viewers.

A source added: “Stacey and Kevin were never anything more than pals but Sam found it quite hard to watch at times.

“There was this attractive, single man spending so much time with his girlfriend. Watching them doing those sensual, sexy routines was tough for him.

“When Stacey left the show he thought things would improve but he’s struggled to keep up with her as she’s so focused on her career at the moment.”

Dianne Buswell

The Aussie pro, 29, and YouTuber Joe Sugg, 27, were giggling away at rehearsals just hours after The Sun Online revealed that Dianne had split from her boyfriend Anthony Quinlan over fears she's growing too close to Joe.

A Strictly source said: “Everyone on set’s been discussing how close they’d become. It did not go unnoticed by Anthony.”

The couple, who briefly took a break after struggling with their long-distance love decided to end things after 10 months of dating.

Seann Walsh

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones hit headlines after they were caught having a snog.

The Sun On Sunday exclusively revealed the shocking pictures of the Strictly Come Dancing pair – who were both in relationships at the time – locking lips on a street in London after a night out.

Katya, 29, who is married to fellow dancer Neil Jones, was the first to hold her hands up and told her fans on Twitter: “I’m so sorry about any offence or hurt I have caused with my actions.

“I wasn’t thinking and it was a one-off mistake after some drinks.

“I love my husband and we are very happy together, this is not a reflection on our relationship.”

Seann, 32, followed suit and added: “In light of the story in today's newspaper I would like to offer my sincere apologies for my actions. This is no excuse but it was a one-off drunken mistake which I am truly sorry for.”

Seann had been dating Rebecca Humphries for five years before she took to publicly dump the comedian on Twitter.

Karen and Kevin Clifton

Professional dancer Karen Clifton was dating an accountant after her marriage to fellow dancer Kevin hit the rocks.

Karen, 36, and Stuart Wood were seen together a number of times and he was spotted leaving her home.

But Karen called time on their romance as her marriage to Kevin broke down.

Kevin was also seen getting close to Strictly partner Louise Redknapp.

Despite the split rumours, at the end of January 2018, Karen insisted she and Kevin were happy together.

Karen said: "Kevin and I start our own tour in May which we are really looking forward to.

"We are really excited and we are creating right now and just talking through everything.

"We are in an amazing family show on Strictly and at the end of the day we love what we do."

However, in March 2018 the couple confirmed their split and revealed that despite the breakdown of their relationship they would both appear on Strictly 2018.

Louise Redknapp

Louise Redknapp’s marriage ended up "under strain" following her appearance on the show.

The mum-of-two, who was runner-up in the 2016 series, was said to be desperately trying to save her 18-year marriage to Jamie Redknapp.

On December 2, 2017, The Sun exclusively revealed that Jamie and Louise Redknapp were to divorce.

The pair realised they could not save their 18-year marriage after spending so much time apart in the past year.

Louise and the footie pundit, 44, have barely seen each other since, as she tries to carve out a stage career.

At the time, a source close to the former Strictly runner-up said: “They have come to a mutual agreement that divorce is the only option.

“Louise has filed the paperwork and there’s no going back.”

On December 29, 2017, the pair were granted a quickie divorce in just 20 seconds at London's Family Court after 18 years of marriage.

The couple have two sons Charley and Beau together.

Joanne Clifton

The Sun exclusively revealed in February 2017 that Strictly professional Joanne Clifton had split from partner Joe Edward-Bader.

They broke up just weeks after she beat her brother Kevin Clifton and lifted the Glitterball trophy with dance partner Ore Oduba.

Joanne and Joe reportedly referred to themselves as “the Two Jos” and were planning a long-term future after meeting on the musical, Norma Jeane.

News broke of the split after Joanne tweeted a picture of a man pointing a gun at a cupid with the caption “#goaway” on Valentine’s Day.

It is not known what caused them to break up, but it is believed there was nobody else involved.

Daisy Lowe

Daisy Lowe became a victim of the Strictly curse in 2016 after splitting with boyfriend Bradley 'Frankie' Wade.

A source close to the model revealed that Daisy and Bradley struggled to find enough time to spend together and after a discussion decided they would be better off as friends.

Daisy had been dating Bradley for five months but the pressure of Daisy's extra training put too much strain on the relationship.

The model was partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec, and the pair were seen becoming close friends on and off the show, alongside his then fiancee, fellow Strictly professional Janette Manrara.

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole (both split with their partners)

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole have become known as the first to fall victim to the curse in 2004.

The newsreader and her professional dance partner were both in relationships at the time – Natasha with Mike Barnard and Brendan with fellow Strictly professional Camilla Dallerup.

However, the two reportedly had an affair while on the show.

But, Brendan told the Daily Mail: "I didn’t cross any lines with Natasha. I was single.

"Camilla had ended the relationship very early on in the series so what happened, happened after that."

Brendan went on to marry British model, Zoe Hobbs, and the couple welcomed their second child together in 2018.

Ben Cohen 

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff were partnered together in the eleventh series of the show in 2013.

Shortly after he finished his time on the show, he announced he was splitting from his wife of eleven years, Abby Blayney.

Kristina and Ben later announced that they were now in a relationship, and in June 2016 the couple had a baby daughter, named Milena.

Joe Calzaghe 

Getting together with Ben wasn’t the first time Kristina started a relationship with someone she was partnered with on the show.

Boxing champ Joe Calzaghe started seeing the petite blonde after splitting with girlfriend Jo-Emma Larvin in 2009.

But the couple were done by 2013, with the dancer claiming Joe “found it difficult when I danced with other men”.

Flavia Cacace 

Another dancer who isn’t shy of extending her dance partner relationship out of the studio is Flavia Cacace.

She got with Matt Di Angelo in 2007, just after the show ended.

She dumped her fellow professional dance partner and boyfriend Vincent Simone for the EastEnders actor.

However, the pair split in 2010, and it was revealed Flavia was dating another celebrity contestant a few weeks later… Jimi Mistry.

Jimi Mistry 

When Flavia and Jimi were partnered together in 2010, she was still with Matt.

However, just weeks after announcing her split from the soap star, the professional dancer got together with the Coronation Street star.

The couple are still together and were married in December 2013.

Rachel Riley

Countdown star Rachel Riley split from her millionaire husband of 15 months Jamie Gilbert – just after her stint on Strictly in 2013.

At the time, Rachel insisted her professional dance partner Pasha Kovalev was not the reason behind the split.

However, the pair later confirmed their relationship in 2014.

Four years later and the couple are still together and announced they were expecting their first child together in May, 2019, before tying the knot in Las Vegas in July, 2019.

Georgia May Foote

Georgia was dating her former Corrie co-star Sean Ward when she took part in Strictly Come Dancing 2015.

But after coming runner-up in the final with Giovanni, the couple split.
Giovanni and Georgia were then spotted "openly kissing" on a romantic trip to Disneyland Paris and holding hands in pictures obtained by The Sun.

Despite their blooming romance, the pair consistently denied they were a couple throughout the competition.

However, shortly before the start of training for Strictly 2016, they called time on their relationship, blaming their busy schedules.

In a sweet statement released on her Twitter, former Corrie star Georgia said that the pair split amicably and wish each other well in the future.

How can Strictly contestants avoid the dreaded curse?

The Sun revealed that contestants and new dancers receive relationship advice.

BBC bosses have previously warned those taking part about the strain loved ones endure after spending so much time with their dance partner.

They were also advised of the dangers of starting training while having relationship difficulties and told about previous celebrity victims whose messy splits exploded during the competition.

An insider said: “The curse bobs its head every year and the new people taking part have to be warned about it.

“It’s a full-on, intense show that puts strains on people’s relationships. They don’t understand what it’s like until it’s a couple of weeks in and it’s too late.”

Former Strictly stars James and Ola Jordan said the show curse could strike anyone as "four months is a long time rubbing up and down each other".

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