The history of the Strictly Curse
As Neil and Katya's split make the headlines, we look back at the relationships that have fallen victim to the infamous Strictly Curse and the new ones that have been ignited…
The Strictly Curse has hovered over the show like a spectre ever since the first series aired in 2004, sparking illicit affairs and in some cases even breaking up marriages.
Whether the havoc that Strictly Come Dancing can play with relationships is a curse or a blessing is up for debate, given the new partnerships and children that have come out of the re-couplings, but here's a run-down of where and when it's raised its head since the glitzy show began.
- Phillip Schofield: ‘it’s not a Strictly curse – it’s a blessing’
- Strictly’s Graeme Swann reveals awkward clash with Seann Walsh over Katya Jones kiss scandal
Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
When the first-ever series of Strictly aired in 2004, rumours of an affair between newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and her pro dance partner Brendan Cole were rife.
Kaplinsky consistently denied there was any romance between her and Cole, but both her 12-year relationship and Cole's with fellow dancer and fiancée Camilla Dallerup came to an end.
Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace
During the 2007 series, pro dancer Flavia Cacace was in an 11-year relationship with fellow pro Vincent Simone when she was partnered with EastEnders actor Matt Di Angelo.
Cacace and Simone broke up during the series, and soon after the show ended she and Di Angelo confirmed they were dating. They were together for three years.
Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff
Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe signed up for the 2009 series of the show, and shortly after it began he split up with his girlfriend of five years.
Calzaghe and his dance partner Kristina Rihanoff became a couple and moved in together a year later. The pair dated for four years, before breaking up in 2013.
Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe
Ricky Whittle split from his girlfriend of two years, fellow Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson, and went on to date dance partner Natalie Lowe, who he met during the 2009 series.
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
A few months after being paired up with Pasha Kovalev on the 2013 series of Strictly, Countdown maths expert Rachel Riley split with her husband.
A year later she and Kovalev confirmed they were a couple, and are still together now.
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff
After her break-up with Joe Calzaghe, Kristina Rihanoff was partnered with married rugby player Ben Cohen on the 2013 series of Strictly.
Cohen split up with his wife, insisting there was "no third-party involved", but a year later he and Rihanoff confirmed they were a couple. They stayed together and have since had a daughter.
Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice
When Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote signed up for the 2015 series, she was dating her co-star Sean Ward, but they broke up when she fell for her dance partner Giovanni Pernice.
Foote and Pernice moved in together six months later, but in 2016 they split up.
Seann Walsh and Katya Jones
Comedian Seann Walsh and his pro dancer Katya Jones (who was married to fellow professional Neil Jones) were paired up in the 2018 series. After photographs of them emerged kissing outside a pub, Walsh’s girlfriend ended their relationship.
Although Neil and Katya performed a show together after the scandal, the couple announced their separation in August 2019.
But it's not all bad news...
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Dianne Buswell, who was partnered with YouTuber Joe Sugg in the 2018 series, split from Emmerdale actor Anthony Quinlan.
A spokesperson for Buswell said the break-up was “due to their busy schedules and distance” but rumours of an affair between her and Sugg were swirling. Soon after the 2018 series of Strictly finished, Sugg and Buswell announced they were an item and have since started a YouTube channel together.