When Strictly Come Dancing contestant Seann Walsh and pro dance partner Katya Jones were photographed kissing during a drunken night out last year, it sparked widespread criticism — Walsh had a girlfriend at the time, while Jones is married to fellow Strictly pro Neil Jones.
The controversy made headlines, particularly once Walsh’s ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries released a statement denouncing her former partner’s actions.
Now Neil and Katya have both opened up about how they moved on from the events of last year, with Neil explaining he could “accept people make mistakes”.
“I can accept people make mistakes,” Neil said in an interview with HELLO! magazine. “My mum always said, ‘People make mistakes in their lives. Don’t react, try to understand’. So that is how it always is for me.”
Seann and Katya apologise on Strictly: It Takes Two (BBC)
Katya also revealed that her “first thought was for Neil” when the kiss was made public – and that she struggled to cope with the negative reaction to the story.
“We knew we just had to sort it out ourselves,” said Katya.”It was quite shocking to be suddenly so exposed and everyone has an opinion on it but we just wanted to focus on us. My first thought was for Neil.”
She continued: “I look at everything as a massive learning process. But actually drop by drop, people typing horrible and unkind things about you, does affect you.
“The hate I felt made me very sad. Neil told me, ‘Stop reading, stop looking’. I knew I had to focus on what I do best, my dancing, my choreography, my job to the best of my ability.”
Both Katya and Neil have both signed up for another series of Strictly, but the BBC is still to confirm which professionals will have celebrity partners in 2019.