Karen Clifton has been enjoying a break away from the UK over the festive period, and took to Instagram on New Year's Day to share a positive message about the future - after enjoying her first New Year celebrations since splitting from ex-husband Kevin Clifton. Posting a gorgeous bikini snap of herself posing on the beach, she sweetly wrote: "This is just the beginning." As ever, the Strictly Come Dancing star's fans were quick to send their support, with one commenting: "Cannot wait to see what 2019 brings you @karencliftonofficial." Another tried to guess what "beginning" Karen was referring to, adding: "Happy new year Karen.. the beginning of?????"
Image: Instagram @karencliftonofficial
The professional dancer has been speaking openly about finding happiness in her life after having a difficult 2018, opening up to HELLO! in a recent interview. Karen, who went home to New York to spend Christmas with her family, is now in a better place than ever since the start of the year, when she split up from her husband of three years Kevin.
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"Last year I was here in New York on my own, as Kevin spent Christmas with his family," she said, revealing the marriage was unravelling even then. "Things weren’t going that great so it was a bit of giving ourselves space, which we both needed. It was the first time I’d come home for Christmas on my own, and I was in a different mindset. Coming home again is very special, spending time with my family who helped me. I’ve had a pretty intense year and now I feel like a completely different person."
Karen split from Kevin in March, and is thought to have moved on with opera singer David Webbe
She also spoke of her continued friendship with Kevin, touching on their sweet on-screen moment after he was announced as this year's Strictly winner. Fans were moved as she rushed over to embrace Kevin – who had made it to the final of the show five times – but never before won.
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"You should have seen me off camera," she said. "Knowing how passionate Kevin is, I was just in bits and so happy for him." She added: "Kevin and I went through a lot this year, but the fact is we are supportive and stay positive and can be kind to one another, despite what people probably wanted. They most likely couldn’t believe that we would still be really good friends and wish the best for each other. I have a lot of love for Kevin and respect for him."