Strictly Come Dancing’s Kristina Rihanoff opens up about escaping difficult upbringing through dancing

The dancer witnessed domestic violence between her parents

Strictly Come Dancing’s Kristina Rihanoff has opened up about her difficult upbringing in her native Russia.

The professional dancer said dance helped her escape her home life and branded it her “safe zone”.

Kristina, 39, revealed her parents were “often violent towards each other” and it drove her away from home.

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She told Closer magazine: “My parents were often violent towards each other, always arguing and being verbally aggressive.

“From about the age of 10, I saw my mum being very unhappy in her relationship.”

She added: “It drove me away from home and towards dance school. That’s where I felt comfortable. The dance floor became my safe zone.

“A lot was going on in Russia at that time – the Soviet Union was collapsing, families were losing their jobs and savings and kids were going off the rails.

“But dancing kept me happy and away from trouble.”

The star explained that her childhood has made her understand the importance of money and she often sends money home to her mum and aunt in Russia.

She continued: “We managed OK but it taught me to be very careful with money.

“When I started earning – and I started teaching dance very early, when I was 15 – I was very careful with the little that I earned.

“Even now, when I make a bit more money and could buy loads of things, I never go crazy because I send money back to Russia to my family.

“I support my mum and my aunt, who is a single mother with two kids.”

The former Celebrity Big Brother star is in a relationship with former Rugby player Ben Cohen.

The pair welcomed their first child, daughter Milena, together last year. Ben also has twin daughters Harriette and Isabelle, who were born in 2008, from a previous relationship.

Earlier this year the TV star opened up about her ideal wedding with Ben.

She said: “I just want to have my loved ones next to me.

“It doesn’t matter where it is or what we do.

“If I had to choose, it would be a nice hotel, somewhere small and romantic. It would be amazing to have all my family and friends together.”

Ben has also spoken about wanting to tie the knot with Kristina.

“I imagine we will get married at one point,” he said last year.

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“Having a baby later on in life, we are both very set in our ways so it has been a big change for both of us.”

The blonde beauty also went on to discuss becoming a mum for the first time and admitted it changed her for the better.

Kristina told TV Life magazine: “As a competitive dancer, you’re in a self-absorbed bubble.

“You put your life into it. You worship dance and there’s nothing more important. Now it’s my job to look after my child, not just myself.”

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