karen kevin clifton

Exclusive! Karen Clifton's festive reflections on tough year following split from Strictly's Kevin Clifton

The Strictly couple have remained good friends since their split in March

Sharnaz Shahid

Following their shock split in March, Karen Clifton and Kevin Clifton have remained on the very best of terms. But this year, the former Strictly Come Dancing couple are preparing to spend their first Christmas without each other since officially parting ways. Speaking exclusively to HELLO! in New York ahead of the festivities, Karen shared: "Christmas is definitely a time for reflection. After having a really tough year, it's been nice to have pulled through in such a positive way."

Karen and Kevin split in March after three years of marriage

The professional dancer, who is set to take part in the BBC show's nationwide tour in the New Year, recently watched her ex lift up the glitter ball trophy with his celebrity dance partner Stacey Dooley. Viewers were almost left in tears when they watched Karen rush over to Kevin to congratulate him over his sensational win - nine months after they confirmed their split following three years of marriage. "With Kevin and I being such good friends, having such a strong relationship - now that we're not together anymore - I think it's really important to notice all the positives," added Karen.

MORE: Karen Clifton is finally reunited with her mother after Strictly Come Dancing

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"The fact that we're still so very close and no matter what happens, it's important to stay positive and that you're kind to one another. Last year, I never thought that I would be in such a good place and I'm thankful for that." When asked about what she's looking forward to the most this Christmas, the Venezuelan beauty replied: "I'm definitely excited to be catching up with my two little nieces, who are four years old and six years old. Again, it's Christmas for them, it's Santa Claus, the snow, it's the cold and being with family. I just want to read them stories and spend time with them – cuddles, lots of cuddles."

We caught up with Karen in New York as she prepared to celebrate Christmas with her family. For the full interview and photo album pick up our New Year's issue of the magazine, out 31 December.

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