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Strictly star Kevin Clifton defends girlfriend Stacey Dooley

This is what happened…

Hanna Fillingham

Earlier in the year, Strictly Come Dancing winner Stacey Dooley came under fire following a backlash over her Comic Relief trip to Africa, where she was forced to defend herself when MP David Lammy reacted to the photos of her visit, and branding her a "white saviour." And on Monday, the controversial topic came up again during Stacey's visit at the Sheffield Doc/Fest. One audience member tweeted about the event, and said that Stacey had been taking part in a question and answer session, where she had been asked about the photos. They also wrote that her boyfriend, Kevin Clifton - who was in the audience - was quick to jump to her defence.

Strictly star Kevin Clifton defended girlfriend Stacey Dooley at a recent event

In March when the backlash first began, Kevin – whose relationship with Stacey at that point had not been made public – passionately defended the documentary maker on Twitter. The 36-year-old pro dancer replied to several messages from her followers, sticking up for Stacey's decision to go to Africa to support the charity and challenging David's view that the images she shared reinforced negative stereotypes. In April, Stacey and Kevin's romance came to the public's attention after Stacey's ex-boyfriend Sam Tucknott gave a series of explosive tell-all interviews.

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Kevin and Stacey met after being partnered on Strictly Come Dancing in 2018

While the couple have never officially confirmed their relationship, they have done nothing to deny it either, and have been pictured together looking loved-up on a handful of occasions. Kevin recently made reference to Stacey during a performance in his new show, Burn the Floor, telling the audience: "And thanks to Miss Stacey Dooley, I can finally say I'm the Strictly ­champion after six years of trying. It’s a miracle."

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Last month, Stacey and Kevin took their relationship to the next level by stepping out together hand-in-hand during a low-key stroll around London. The stars, who won last year's series of Strictly, were unable to keep their eyes off each other and smiled widely as they made their way along the street. Stacey, 32, and Kevin, 36, have only been pictured together a handful of times since news of their romance broke. But this latest appearance was certainly the most tactile.

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