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Strictly Come Dancing star shocks with surprise engagement

Congratulations are in order!

Gemma Strong

Some big news from the world of Strictly Come Dancing! It has been revealed that Olympic rower James Cracknell is engaged to be married following his divorce from his wife of 17 years, Beverley Turner. An announcement shared in The Times has confirmed that James has popped the question to Jordan Connell, 35, an American financier.

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It reads: It reads: "Mr J.E Cracknell and Miss J.R.D Connell. The engagement is announced between Mr James Edward Cracknell, OBE, son of Mr and Mrs John Cracknell of London, and Jordan Rebekah Davis Connell, daughter of the late Mr Barry Connell and of Mrs Rosemarie Connell, of New York City."

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WATCH: James Cracknell and Beverley Turner discuss his shocking accident

The couple met while James was studying as a mature student at Cambridge University in 2019 – the same year he announced his separation from Beverley. He was working towards a masters in human evolution at Peterhouse, while his future wife was studying at Cambridge Judge Business School.

MORE: James Cracknell confirms new relationship with girlfriend Jordan Connell

The pair kept in contact after their degrees finished and have been isolating together during lockdown.

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James Cracknell and Jordan Connell have announced their engagement

James, 48, married Beverley in 2002 and together they share three children – son Croyde and daughters Kiki and Trixie. They announced their separation in March 2019 in a short statement which read: "We can confirm that sadly we separated last year.

MORE: James Cracknell saves man and grandson from drowning

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The couple met while studying at Cambridge University

"Together, we remain committed to our amazing children, they are our absolute priority and wish people to be kind and mindful of this."

MORE: James Cracknell shares fears exhaustion could trigger epilepsy

Their split came after James suffered a shocking accident in 2010 when he was hit by a lorry while cycling across America, which left him with a crippling brain injury. The damage was significant and life-changing, slowing his speech and leaving him with a changed personality and short temper.

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James shares three children with his ex-wife Beverley

In 2019, Beverley, 47, wrote candidly about her husband's accident in The Times and her attempts to nurse him back to health. She shared: "A formerly quiet man, he couldn’t stop talking, but certainly stopped listening. I had my silent screams in the shower so the children wouldn't hear.

"Acquired brain injury is contagious — the whole family catches it and soon everyone is snapping, sighing, arguing and slamming doors."

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