Ben Cohen has hit back at reports that Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rihanoff was involved in the breakdown of his 11 year marriage.
Ben and Kristina were partnered together in the last series of Strictly – and following his split from wife Abby, the pair have been subjected to speculation about the nature of their relationship.
Taking to Facebook on Sunday, rugby star Ben wrote, "Stories have been published that are laced with innuendo about me, my wife Abby and my friend and former Strictly Come Dancing partner Kristina Rihanoff.
"Kristina and I share a passion for charity work and have helped each other with our charities to raise money and awareness.
"It is a desperately sad world when two adults of different genders cannot have a friendship without being attacked maliciously.
"My wife and I have already issued a statement regarding our current marital issues and we stand by that statement.
"Our own problems, like those of any family, should be handled in private. That I am a public figure, does not remove my family's right to privacy."
Ben, 36, also tweeted his support for Kristina, who is currently taking part in series 12 of Strictly, writing, "Stay strong KRihanoff. It's horrible being bullied each week for no reason at all. Thinking of you."
Ben and Abby – parents to seven-year-old twin girls – announced their split earlier this month.
In a statement confirming the news, the couple said they had "agreed to take time apart to deal with some marital issues", adding that they remained "fully committed to the welfare of their children".
They also confirmed that no third party was involved in the decision.