Any celebrity who lets their partner sign up for Strictly Come Dancing is clearly out of their mind – judging by the TV show’s chaotic romantic history.
Rachel Riley’s split from her husband of just 15 months following her stint on Strictly this year, makes her one of many in a long line of celebs hit by the ‘Curse of Strictly’.
From series one of the show in 2004 there have been numerous high-profile splits and rumoured romances, including several secret affairs that inevitably came out just months after the show ended.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood reckons there were even several romances we didn’t pick up on during last year’s show, adding: “There are always romances on ‘Strictly’.
“There were definitely some romances in last year’s series – but you just never got to know about them.”
Host Tess Daly added: “There’s always tons of romance, but no one ever admits it.”
Here are just 15 reasons NEVER to let your partner take part in Strictly – and these are just the ones we know about….
1. Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole in 2004
Natasha and Brendan were plagued by affair rumours in 2004, which wasn’t helped by her split from her partner of 12 years – or by Brendan following suit by dumping his fiancee, Camilla Dallerup.
Natasha stood by her affair denials, this year she admitted: “There was chemistry, of course, and I certainly fell in love with dancing, but I did not fall in love with Brendan.”
2. Mark Ramprakash in 2006
The former England cricketer was known as a ‘quiet family man’ before his stint on SCD in 2006.
Matt won the series but faced a backlash of publicity when his private life became the talk of the tabloids, unearthing his two-year affair with a ‘single mother’ (ooo err) and ending in his split from his wife of 16 years.
3. Gethin Jones and Katherine Jenkins in 2007
Gethin and Katherine met on the SCD set in 2007 when he was a contestant on the show and she was making a guest appearance.
The pair stayed together until 2010, when they got engaged and then split just weeks later.
4. Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace in 2007
Matt and Flavia struggled to keep their blossoming romance under wraps during the 2007 series – which was awkward for Flavia’s boyfriend, fellow dancer Vincent Simone.
In 2012, Matt said: “It was front page news. The funny thing was the story did not start off as true, but the more you read it, the more you started to believe it and actually act on it … I started to think that if I am getting all this stick, we might as well go out with each other.”
Flavia and Vincent eventually split and she and Matt went public with their romance. The excitement was clearly short-lived for Falvia, who then left Matt for her dance partner in 2010.
5. Kristina Rihanoff and Vincent Simone in 2008
Professional dancers Vincent and Kristina had an affair in 2008, which ended in Vincent’s pregnant girlfriend to leave him.
6. Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff in 2009
Following her romance with Vincent, Kristina was paired with boxer Joe for the 2009 series. Although the pair denied affair rumours at first, Joe split from his partner, Jo-Emma Larvin, after ‘a series of rows’.
Joe and Kristina moved in together a year later, confirming their romance. And while they ‘remain friends’, the pair split this summer.
7. Jimi Mistry and Flavia Cacace in 2010
Just weeks after splitting from Matt, Flavia admitted she was dating her new dance partner, actor Jimi.
She claimed she split from Matt because of his desire to move to the US. Matt said of the time: “Is that what she said?
“Well, if that’s what she said, I don’t argue with women. My mum taught me that. I just say ‘Yes love!’”
Jimi and Flavia are still going strong, announcing their engagement at the start of this series.
[ Mark Benton survives ANOTHER week on Strictly ]
8. Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna in 2009
Both single (shocking, we know), Hollyoaks actress Ali and dancer partner Brian found love on the 2009 series of SCD.
It took a matter of two weeks before rumours of a romance started for the pair, who remained tight-lipped until well into the series. The pair split just a year later.
9. Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe in 2009
Ricky and Natalie were rumoured to have had more than just ‘on-screen chemistry’ during the 2009 series of Strictly, which spiralled when he split from his Hollyoaks co-star, Carley Stenson, during filming.
Ricky always denied the rumours, insisting their ‘love story’ was just down to producers “feeding stories to the press”.
10. Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev in 2010
Kara and Artem were partnered together in 2010 and famously confirmed their romance by kissing during the final.
They’re still going strong – although she was plagued by rumours of jealousy when he was partnered with Holly Valance in 2011.
11. Chelsee Healey and Pasha Kovalev in 2011
Chelsee made it to the final with partner Pasha in 2011 amid rumours of a romance. But the pair claim they never dated, with Chelsee admitting his girlfriend at the time, Emma, had nothing to worry about.
She said: “[Emma] can trust Pasha. He’s a good boy. I wouldn’t do anything if I knew a bloke had a girlfriend.”
12. Louis Smith and his imaginary romance with Kimberley Walsh in 2012
Louis Smith famously dumped his girlfriend in 2012 because he had a crush on fellow contestant, Kimberley Walsh. Kimberley, however, is still with her longterm boyfriend, Justin Scott.
13. Dani Harmer in 2012
Dani Harmer, who was partnered with Vincent Simone, split from her boyfriend Graeme Livingstone just days into training.
A source said: “The timing was terrible. Dani filmed her first show on Wednesday night then split from Graeme the next week.”
14. Rachel Riley in 2013
Rachel split from her high school sweetheart, Jamie, just weeks after starring on Strictly. They had been married for just 15 months.
15. Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec in 2013
Despite being married to footballer Peter Crouch, Abbey has been plagued by romance rumours since she was paired with Aljaz.
The pair have remained strictly professional on a public level, with Aljaz’s girlfriend, dancer Janette Manrara, saying: “I’ve got my eye on her. She’s a beautiful model with a great personality.”
[ Strictly's Natalie Gumede's weekly SCD blog ]