Kevin Clifton has laughed off rumours his girlfriend Stacey Dooley was behind his decision to quit Strictly Come Dancing, saying he left to take up his “dream role”.
The professional dancer announced last week that he was saying goodbye to the BBC show after seven years, and has now confirmed that he will be playing the lead role of Scott Hastings in the tour of Strictly Ballroom The Musical.
There have been tabloid reports that Dooley pushed Clifton to quit, which the journalist dismissed as “utter nonsense”.
Honestly, we knew this would happen. 🙄— Stacey Dooley (@StaceyDooley) March 7, 2020
And so it starts, again......
Utter nonsense 🤷🏼♀️ https://t.co/L8NlQg1l1y
The issue came up again when Clifton appeared on This Morning.
But he told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Rochelle Humes: “It’s always the woman’s fault, like I’m incapable of making a decision.
“I did talk about it with her and she always said to me, ‘This has to be your decision. You can’t have anyone tell you what to do here. This is a big decision’.”
'I'm really looking forward to watching the show as a fan'@keviclifton discusses his feelings towards Strictly Come Dancing after his announcement that he is leaving the show after 7 years! 🕺 #ThisMorning pic.twitter.com/m44nXjHIsk— This Morning (@thismorning) March 13, 2020
Clifton admitted quitting Strictly was “a scary thing” to do, as he had loved his time on the programme and had not reached a point where he wanted to walk away.
But he said when the Strictly Ballroom job came up he could not turn it down as it had been his “life’s ambition” since he was a child.
He said the tagline for Strictly Ballroom was that “a life lived in fear is a life half lived” and he said he “took that to heart”.
The dancer added that the BBC show’s bosses had told him that he would “always be part of the Strictly family”.
“And I’m really looking forward to watching the show as a fan,” he said.
The secret’s out.. I’m swapping one ballroom for another! From September 2020 I’ll be waltzing around the UK & Ireland as Scott Hastings in @sbtourUK . Can’t wait for this next chapter to begin. Hope to see u all there!#StrictlyBallroomTheMusical pic.twitter.com/JB7Q48H8Hy— Kevin Clifton (@keviclifton) March 13, 2020
Dooley and Clifton were partnered together on the 2018 series of the dance show and went on to win before entering into a relationship after the programme had ended.
He wrote on social media: "To the entire Strictly family, The past 7 years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.
"Since first being called 'Kevin From Grimsby' by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of five finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley."
He went on to thank his colleagues as well as those behind the scenes before dubbing Strictly the "best show on tv".