Kristina Rihanoff has defended her romance with Ben Cohen insisting that their relationship only began once his 11 year marriage to wife Abby had come to an end. "He left his wife a year ago," the Strictly Come Dancing star told the Mirror. "Recently we started dating but we're allowed to see each other as two single people."
She continued: "I don't know why I am always attacked. I am a hard-working, self-made person. I support five people in my family in Russia."
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Kristina Rihanoff has defended her new romance with Ben Cohen
Kristina – who also dated Vincent Simone and ex Strictly partner Joe Calzaghe – said there have been other Strictly couples, yet she is the only one to be demonised.
"It is such double standards," she said. "Pasha (Kovalev) and Rachel (Riley) got together after the show, but everyone believed them when they said they were friends.
"Flavia (Cacae) had three relationships. Janette (Manrara) was with Pasha, Artmen (Chigvintsev) and now Aljaz (Skorjanec) – but I am the horrible one."
Former England rugby star Ben, 36, was partnered with Kristina for the 11th series of Strictly. A few months after the show ended, he and wife Abby announced their split. At the time, the pair stated that no third party was involved in the breakdown of their marriage – but last week 37-year-old Abby filed for divorce after Ben and Kristina decided to go public with their romance.
Ben Cohen and his wife Abby announced their split in September
Taking to Twitter last week, Abby – who has twin daughters, Harriette and Isabelle, with Ben – wrote: "Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts. Then they make us want to leave footprints on their face."
She also posted a message to Kristina's account concerning "karma". "Don't devalue or hurt anyone in life," it read. "You may be powerful today. But remember, time is more powerful than you!"
Ben met Abby in 1995 at the age of 17, and the couple married in 2003 before welcoming their daughters in 2008.