'Strictly's' Giovanni Pernice finally confirms Ashley Roberts romance


Strictly Come Dancing star Giovanni Pernice has confirmed his romance with Ashley Roberts – although he managed not to give away many details in a live TV grilling.

The pro dancer partnered Steps singer Faye Tozer on the recent series of the show, but by the series end had been linked to former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts who danced with Pasha Kovalev.

Pernice and Roberts apparently spent Christmas in Florida together, and the dancer confirmed that they had been there for New Year too, with co-star Aljaz Skorjanec in tow.

He was a guest on ITV’s Lorraine alongside Skorjanec and another Strictly pro, Gorka Marquez, where all three spoke about how the show had enhanced their love lives.

Talking about the Strictly live tour, Pernice said: “I’m dancing with Faye, Ashley’s dancing with Pasha.”

Lorraine asked: “But you’re going out with Ashley?”

He replied: “Different things. I’m dancing with Faye, and with Ashley it’s different.”

Skorjanec joked: “Different tour,” as the three dancers laughed.

Lorraine also asked whether they had been on a Christmas holiday to Florida together and Pernice said yes, adding that Skorjanec had been there too, but then got deliberately vague on the details.

However, he did let slip that the break had been for more than just Christmas, saying: “It’s always lovely to be in Florida for Christmas and New Year. It’s a bit odd though, because normally Santa comes on a sleigh, not on a surf board.”

Pernice also jumped to Roberts’ defence when Lorraine asked him about the backlash she had suffered from the show’s fans for having lots of dance experience and the advantage it gave her.

He said: “That’s the thing, every single year, even with my partner Faye and Debbie McGee last year. Every single year people talk about experience, but it’s completely different, they’ve never danced ballroom or Latin before.

“They really put 100 per cent commitment into the show, that’s the most important thing.”

As Lorraine wished him well with his new relationship, he replied: “Thank you.”

Marquez also talked about his love life – his relationship with actress Gemma Atkinson, who he met on the previous series of Strictly.

He said: “Lucky me. That’s thanks to the show. Obviously during the show she was busy with (Aljaz) dancing all day, but thanks to the tour I got a chance to spend more time with her and get to know her better and yeah, we are very happy.”

And Skorjanec, who is married to fellow show pro Jeanette Manrara, said: “It’s going to be our two year anniversary this year.

“We met on a tour show before Strictly and thanks to Strictly we’re stronger, so for us it’s been more of a Strictly blessing really.”

Lorraine asked whether the dancers thought it was a bad idea for celebrities to take part in the show if their relationship was not rock solid, for fear of becoming a victim of the Strictly curse.

Skorjanec laughed: “I would say do it anyway.”

Pernice added: “Everyone talks about Strictly curse, but it’s a really good experience for the celebrities learning to dance every single week, and it’s a challenge for them.”

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