As Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screen for 2018's exciting glitterball challenge we're taking a look back at two of our very favourite stars of the show Kevin and Karen Clifton. As we all know, the couple decided to separate back in March 2018, and it was HELLO! who they came to for their very first interview to discuss the sad situation. We're taking a look back at that interview - and their first photoshoot since announcing their marriage split.
"As performers with our fans and as a couple with our family, we have shared so much, so no matter what has happened, we can continue. Things don’t have to fall apart," Karen told the magazine. "Throughout the years we have had a good friendship, and that is a great base." Speaking of their decision to confirm the split, Kevin told HELLO!: "It was important to be honest about everything. I think there is a lot of pressure on people to be perfect all the time, and so there is this fairytale image of everything, but at the end of the day we are just like other people. We are just two people who love what we do and we never want to pretend to our fans or to anybody."
Kevin and Karen Clifton have spoken out following their split
Karen spoke about how much respect she has for Kevin, explaining: "It is about being true to yourself, and respecting one another. I respect and admire Kevin as a performer, a human being, and I’ve always looked up to him, that will never stop. We want to be positive in all of this." The pair still wore their wedding rings for the interview, and Kevin said: "Our friendship was built on our passion for dance. Dance is the glue that holds us together." He added that there was never any doubt that they would stay dancing together. "That was never a question," he said. "We are really passionate about what we do so there was never any doubt." Kevin concluded: "What the future holds we have no idea. We are the best of friends, have a good laugh, and life goes on." Karen added: "The fact that I get to work with Kevin, and he inspires me, means a lot to me."
The couple confirmed their split in March
The couple will soon be spending almost every waking hour together as rehearsals get into full swing for their 44-date tour, based on all the inspirations and performers they grew up watching, which starts in May, with Kevin announcing: "This is about to be the best work that we have done, I feel that. Being honest about everything has unlocked a real creativity. We are stronger than ever. As performers you have to be in touch with yourself and the truth. A lot of people can go on stage and give a big smile and entertain an audience, but the really special ones have an honest way of performing. That is why I love people like Robbie Williams. There is a real honesty about his performances, and that is important to us when we dance."
The pair are still great friends
Karen added that their split hasn't changed the way they perform together, saying: "The dynamic and energy we give each other on the dancefloor will never change. I don't feel we have changed as performers. In a way, we have grown more as individuals." Karen also chatted about the physical challenges on going on tour, and how she walks her dog, Betty, as a method of exercise."I don't like going to the gym," she admitted. "I prefer to take Betty for a walk. Betty will come to rehearsals, she comes to auditions and she will come to a few shows, too."
As for if they will dance together if they get the call to return to Strictly, Karen said: "You know, we don’t make that decision, it is down to the choreographers, they switch us all round." She also dismissed recent rumours that she is planning to move back to New York. "London is my home; my career is here. I love going back to New York to visit – my family is there – but I fell in love with London when I came here in 2010 and I always knew I wanted to live here. I feel I have grown up as a person here." As for what’s next for them, Karen said: "We just want to be happy as individuals, and wish the best for each other. There’s so much stuff going on in the world, there’s no need to be negative, we don’t want to put anyone down." Speaking about their tour, which they will complete on 29 July, Karen enthused: "It is about all of our inspirations, performers we grew up watching – the Liza Minnellis, the Michael Jacksons – and movies we have seen – Fame, Strictly Ballroom – and putting together a show that has shaped us as performers and the dancers that we are now." "This show has been in the making for the past 35 years," Kevin added.
The pair will be on the upcoming season of Strictly
Kevin spoke about his love for Strictly, and how it's changed opinion on dance, explaining: "Strictly has changed everything for ballroom dancing. At school people found it quite funny that I did ballroom, but I recently went to my school reunion and all they wanted to talk about was ballroom and Strictly." The pair were surprised that Brendan Cole was fired from the upcoming 2018 series, and Karen said: "It is always a shock when someone goes, but with Brendan, he has been there from the beginning and is the first winner, and we all looked up to him. He was like a big brother – he always took care of us."