BBC Strictly Come Dancing 'curse' strikes again as star splits from husband

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 logo
-Credit: (Image: PA)

A former Strictly Come Dancing star has reportedly split from their husband after more than half a decade of marriage. Ian Waite - who was a dancer on the BBC show from 2004 to 2010, and continues to feature on spin-off series It Takes Two - has separated from his husband Drew Merriman.

The couple have been married since 2017. The sad news comes after the pair are said to have tried to "work through their problems" but decided to separate and remain friends.

Strictly and some of its international versions have faced rumours of a suppose 'curse' over the years, relating to participants breaking up with their real life partners during or after competing on the show. It's been suggested that Strictly often draws participants away from their families. In some rumoured cases of the 'curse,' participants have seemingly ended up developing romances with others related to the show.


Professional dancer and choreographer Ian is best known for his role on Strictly. He made his debut in the second series, when he was partnered with athlete Denise Lewis. The pair reached the final in 2004 and were the runner-up couple.

He went on to place third with radio host Zoe Ball the following year. Ian's subsequent celebrity partners on the show were singer Mica Paris, model Penny Lancaster, model Jodie Kidd and athlete Jade Johnson. He didn't have a partner in 2010.

Ian has regularly appeared on companion show Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, with him providing commentary on contestants' routines and training. It reunited him with former dancer partner Zoe, who hosted from 2011 to 2021.

Last year, Ian joined the cast of Dancing with the Stars in Australia. He was partnered with actor Virginia Gay and the pair ended up reaching the final together. He's back on the show this year and has been partnered with actor Lisa McCune for the new series, which launched earlier this week.

Professional dancers Ian Waite and Aneta Piotrowska attend the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Season 8 Launch Show at BBC Television Centre on September 8, 2010 in London, England
Professional dancers Ian Waite and Aneta Piotrowska attend the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Season 8 Launch Show at BBC Television Centre on September 8, 2010 in London, England -Credit:Stuart Wilson/Getty Images

Since the split with Ian, Drew is believed to have begun a new relationship with former pageant winner Jon McMahon, who he's said to have met through work. He shared photos of them together recently in a post marking Pride last month.

Alongside discussing other people in his life, Drew tagged John and wrote: "I get to be me, and do all of this with the most incredible man by my side. It was just a normal day at work, until it wasn't. We started talking and everything just seemed to fall into place. You are the most incredible person I've met.

"You are there through everything I go through. We laugh together, we cry together and I'm so lucky that I can call you my boyfriend. After some of the most difficult years of my life you have made things make sense, and made me know what I want and where I want to be in this world."

A source told the Daily Mail: "Ian and Drew split a while ago. They tried to work through their problems but sadly decided it was best to separate. They are still friends despite the breakdown of their marriage."