The Strictly Come Dancing live shows are almost upon us but who’ll be making headline news for all the wrong reasons this year?
Every single year without fail rumours abound about the show’s so-called Strictly curse.
More than a handful of celebrities and professional dancers have fallen foul over the years.
Here, ED! takes a look at the stars who just couldn’t keep their relationship strictly professional…
What is the Strictly curse?
The curse is a phenomenon that hits celebrities and their dance partners during their time on the BBC dance show.
Due to the harsh schedules and sexy dance moves with their partners, their off-screen romances sometimes suffer.
The curse came about after a series of high-profile break ups involving participants in the show.
And, most years, it’s rocked by at least one new addition to the gang.
In fact, over the course of 18 series, almost a dozen couples have split due to their time on the show.
Strictly Come Dancing news: Ugo Monye falls foul early on
Before the show even started Ugo Monye announced he had split from his wife Lucy.
The news broke before the celebrity partnerships were announced, with Ugo insisting it was nothing to do with the show curse.
In fact, it’s reported that he decided to go public with the split to avoid curse rumours.
He said: “We weren’t in a volatile relationship, we never hated each other and there was no third party.
“Forget the Strictly curse – it’s the COVID curse! We ended up where we ended up.”
The first-ever victim of the Strictly curse
Strictly started in 2004 and the curse had its first outing that very same year.
At the time, pro dancer Brendan Cole was loved up with fellow pro Camilla Dallerup.
He was then paired with Natasha Kaplinsky, who was coupled up in real life with Mike Barnard.
They reportedly had an affair during their time on the show – although Brendan has denied it.
“I didn’t cross any lines with Natasha. I was single,” he said at the time.
“Camilla had ended the relationship very early on in the series so what happened, happened after that.”
The most high-profile splits
One of the more recent splits came when Seann Walsh and pro partner Katya Jones were spotted snogging in the street.
She was married to fellow pro Neil Jones, who said he forgave her and attempted to rebuild their relationship.
Ultimately they split in August 2019 – 10 months after the pictures were taken.
Seann, meanwhile, was with girlfriend of five years Rebecca Humphries when the “drunken mistake” happened.
The snog just happened to take place on her birthday and she promptly dumped him on Twitter, taking the cat with her.
Ex Strictly pro Kristina Rihanoff has been back in the news this week after the curse struck for her celebrity partner Ben Cohen back in 2013.
She’d already been in a relationship with former partner Joe Calzaghe and they split after he apparently got jealous of her dancing with other men on the show.
In the 11th series of the show, though, Kristina was paired with rugby star Ben, who was married to wife of 11 years Abby at the time.
Soon after his time on Strictly came to an end, he announced his split from Abby.
Kristina and Ben later announced they were in a relationship and, in 2016, they welcomed daughter Milena.
Kevin Clifton’s triple whammy of curse hits
Kevin Clifton is a bonafide Strictly legend – not least when it comes to the curse.
He was married to fellow pro Karen Clifton (Hauer) when Louise Redknapp signed up to the show in 2016.
They finished as runners-up and the blossoming friendship between Kevin and Louise – although showing no signs of romance – did little good for her 18-year marriage to now ex-husband Jamie.
Two years later, in March 2018, Kevin announced his split from Karen.
Later that year, he was paired with Stacey Dooley.
She was loved up with boyfriend of three years, Sam, at the time, but they split after he struggled to cope while she was away on the Strictly tour.
Fast-forward to April 2019 and Kevin and Stacey are officially an item.
Strictly news: The curse keeps on coming
Daisy Lowe fell victim to the curse while dancing with Aljaz Skorjanec.
Although they were just friends, she ended up splitting from boyfriend Bradley Wade during her stint on the show in 2016.
They struggled to find enough time to spend together during training.
There were also rumours that Dianne Buswell and Anthony Quinlan’s romance ended because of the Strictly curse.
She was partnered with Joe Sugg in 2018, while she was still dating Anthony.
They split after 10 months due to struggles with their long-distance romance and, when Strictly ended in December 2018, Dianne and Joe went public with their romance.
Ex pro Flavia Cacace also took her partnership off the dance floor on two occasions.
She is said to have dumped fellow pro Vincent Simone for EastEnders star Matt Di Angelo in 2007, shortly after the show ended.
They ended up splitting in 2010 and Flavia started dating another celeb contestant, Jimi Mistry, weeks later.
They’re still together and tied the knot in 2013.
A Strictly curse success story
One of the most successful romances to come out of the Strictly curse was that of Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev.
Rachel split from her husband of 15 months Jamie Gilbert just after her stint on Strictly in 2013.
At the time she insisted that her partnership with Pasha didn’t cause their break up, but the pair confirmed their romance in 2014.
They’re now married with daughter Maven and a second child on the way.
The ladies love Strictly’s Gio
Pro dancer Giovanni Pernice has quite the reputation as a ladies man.
He was spotted kissing celebrity partner Georgia May Foote after her stint on the 2015 show finished – and pretty soon after her split from Coronation Street star Sean Ward.
It wasn’t to be, though, and the couple split – with Gio later dating Ashley Roberts, who wasn’t paired with him on the show.
They’ve now split and he’s dating Love Island star Maura Higgins, who is said to be worried that the curse could strike their fledgling romance this year.
Strictly Come Dancing is on Saturday night (September 25) at 5pm on BBC One.
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