'Strictly's Pasha Kovalev fears for 'personal' photos of Rachel Riley after phone stolen

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·2-min read
File photo dated 06/09/16 of Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev, who are expecting their first child together.
File photo dated 06/09/16 of Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev, who are expecting their first child together. (Credit: PA)

Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev has had his mobile phone stolen after becoming the victim of a mugging.

The 39-year-old professional dancer is thought to be concerned for the safety of personal pictures of his pregnant girlfriend, Countdown star Rachel Riley, which were saved on the phone.

According to The Sun newspaper Kovalev was robbed by a gang of moped thieves outside a theatre in North London, who snatched his phone from his hands.

Read more: Rachel Riley 'moved to tears' over support in fighting back at anti-semitic trolls

A source said: “One second he was outside on the phone, the next moment the moped pair drove at him aggressively and totally disorientated him.

“They mounted the pavement and in a flash his phone was out of his hand. He was knocked off balance and very upset. As soon as it dawned on him what had happened he told people around him ‘The mobile is unlocked’.”

Kovalev was leaving Sadler’s Wells Theatre in North London on Thursday where he had been to see fellow Strictly stars Katya and Neil Jones’ live show Somnium: A Dancer's Dream.

He is said to have run back into the theatre to check if the attack had been caught on CCTV. Footage has been handed over to police.

The Metropolitan police confirmed officers were called at 10.10pm. A spokesman said: “It is alleged that two men on mopeds stole a phone from a man as he walked down the road. No arrests have been made, enquiries continue.”

Kovalev - a very private person who rarely uses social media - fears he will never recover pictures of 33-year-old Riley stored on the phone.

The dancer quit the BBC show in February and the he and Riley are currently appearing on Celebrity Gogglebox on Channel 4.

Read more: Pasha Kovalev leaves 'Strictly Come Dancing' after eight years

They met when they were paired up on the show in 2013 and Riley split from husband Jamie Gilbert, after falling victim to what has now been dubbed the ‘Strictly Curse’ which has seen many celebrity contestant’s relationships ended after they appear on the show.

Riley confirmed her romance with Kovalev in 2014 and last month they announced they are expecting their first child.

Last year sports presenter Ore Oduba, who competed on Strictly in 2016, revealed he had been the victim of a moped mobile phone mugging.

Professional dancer AJ Pritchard was attacked in a nightclub in Cheshire last year and Strictly pro Gorka Marquez claimed he was beaten up by a gang on the streets of Blackpool in 2016.