Rachel Riley and her former Strictly Come Dancing partner Pasha Kovalev are an item, according to new reports. The Countdown beauty, who split from her husband Jamie Gilbert after just 16 months of marriage last year, is said to have been dating Pasha since the start of the summer. Pasha confirmed to The Sun on Sunday that he and Rachel were a couple, while insiders added that the maths whizz had fallen "head over heels" for the professional dancer.
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Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev were partnered on last year's Strictly Come Dancing
"[Pasha] is really excited and has been telling friends he is in love and she could be the one," a source told the publication. "They're very happy." The 28-year-old TV presenter is said to have developed an "emotional tie" with Pasha during her time on Strictly, but that the pair didn't get together until months after Rachel's marriage to businessman Jamie had fallen apart. "They were definitely not an item at the time of the split but they stayed in touch and eventually romance blossomed," the source added.
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev's romance is said to have blossomed after the breakdown of her marriage
It is thought that Rachel, who has recently moved close to Pasha's flat in London, kept her new relationship on the down-low to spare Jamie's feelings. At the time of their split in November 2013, which came less than a month after Rachel was voted off the dancing show, no third party was said to be involved. The Sun reported that Rachel told a "devastated, distraught and stunned" Jamie that they had grown apart. Rachel and Jamie met at Oxford University where the two studied. The uni sweethearts, who shared a house together in Essex, dated for four years before a brief split in 2009.
Rachel Riley and Jamie Gilbert met at Oxford University
They got back together when Jamie proposed to Rachel on her 25th birthday – a happy announcement that the mathematician made on an episode of Countdown – and married in a fairytale ceremony in August 2012 – seven years after they first got together. According to reports, those close to the couple feared for their relationship when Rachel landed a job co-presenting Channel Five programme, The Gadget Show, which meant being away from home for six days a week. This year's series of Strictly, which features a stellar line-up of celebrities including Pixie Lott and Caroline Flack, starts on Sunday 7 September.