The 'Strictly' Curse: What is it and who's been hit by it?

Laura Hannam
Reporter
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones are the latest to be hit by the Strictly curse. (BBC Pictures)

Strictly Come Dancing isn’t just a fun dancing competition beloved by millions across the nation. It also has a darker, even sinister side – the dreaded Strictly curse.

The rumoured curse allegedly causes Strictly participants to break up with their partners or spouses – and in many cases fall for their Strictly dance partners in the process.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the alleged curse’s victims and their sorry tales…

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones

(BBC Images)

This year the curse has already struck. Just two weeks into the live shows Seann Walsh and Katya Jones have been caught kissing in public.

Comedian Walsh and Strictly pro Katya Jones were photographed passionately kissing outside a Marylebone, London pub this weekend. This is despite Walsh being in a relationship with his girlfriend Rebecca Humphries and Jones married to fellow Strictly pro dancer Neil Jones.

Both have issued public grovelling apologies on Twitter. Walsh offered his ‘sincere apologies for my actions’ while Jones called it a ‘one-off mistake.’



The paired Strictly couple remain on the show as of now, and Katya even performed with husband Neil onstage on Sunday night just a day after the story broke.

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole

(PA Images)

The Strictly curse began in the first ever series back in 2004. Natasha Kiplinsky and Brendan Cole became the lucky couple to be the first ones branded with now infamous ‘Strictly curse’ nickname.

There was undeniable chemistry between the two onscreen, and Cole ended his engagement with partner Camilla Dallerup during the series.

While the two never publicly admitted to having an affair, Cole has since admitted to having ‘chemistry’ with Kaplinsky. While Kaplinsky denied falling for the professional dancer.

“There was chemistry, of course, and I certainly fell in love with dancing, but I did not fall in love with Brendan,” Kaplinsky has said.

Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff

(PA Images)

Boxer Joe Calzaghe left his girlfriend of five years Jo-Emma Larvin just one week into training for Strictly with partner Kristina Rihanoff.

The pair would go on to date for four years until calling it quits in 2013. However, this was certainly not the last Strictly celebrity Rihanoff would form a bond with…

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff

(PA Images)

Rihanoff would soon move on to her next Strictly partner – Ben Cohen. The World Cup rugby champion announced in 2014 that he was splitting up with his wife Abby Blayney. The couple have two daughters together.

And by 2015, it was formerly announced that Cohen and Rihanoff were in a relationship. The couple have never married but they are still together. Rihanoff announced she was pregnant while in the Celebrity Big Brother House in January 2016 and they welcomed daughter Milena later that year.

Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace

(PA Images)

Falvia Cacace dumped her boyfriend Vincent Simone in 2007 for her Strictly partner – former EastEnders actor Matt Di Angelo. The pair dated until 2010.

Cacace has gone on to marry another soap actor, former Coronation Street star Jim Mistry.

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev

(PA Images)

Rachel Riley split from her husband of just one year, Jamie Gilbert, just months after completing 2013’s Strictly. And a year later she confirmed that she was dating her dance partner Pasha Kovalev.

She claimed that they only began dating post her split with Gilbert, and the Strictly couple have been dating ever since.

Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice

(PA Images)

Former Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote was a hit with Strictly audiences and as it would turn out also with her Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice.

Foote split with her partner and fellow Corrie actor Sean Ward in December 2015 – just weeks after finishing Strictly. And then just weeks after announcing her breakup she confirmed she was dating Pernice and the couple dated until August 2016.

Kevin and Karen Clifton

(PA Images)

Professional Strictly couple Kevin and Karen Clifton announced they were separating in March 2018. The pair married in 2015 and Karen claimed on Chris Evans Radio 2 show that the two remain the ‘best of friends.’

“We’re still the best of friends – we still have a lot of love and respect for each other. What we’ve found is that since we’ve been honest with each other it’s unlocked our creativity,” Karen said.

Louise Redknapp and Jamie Redknapp

(PA Images)

Singer Louise Redknapp was partnered with Kevin Clifton in 2016’s Strictly and while they were never rumoured to be having an affair – Redknapp says the experience made her realise she was ‘sexy’ again.

“I could feel myself changing week by week. Sometimes I felt like crying because deep down inside me this voice was screaming: ‘This is what I have been missing,” Louise said.

By December 2017, Louise and Jamie had divorced – after an incredible 19 years of marriage.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One Saturday night.


Read more
Seann Walsh’s girlfriend reacts to his kissing Strictly partner pictures
Strictly week two sees a surprise contestant eliminated
Strictly Movie Week: Two stars take a dramatic tumble