Strictly Come Dancing fans were left in shock when Neil and Katya Jones announced last week that they are separating. The news also surprised their friends, including former co-star Ola Jordan, who used to dance on Strictly before she quit the show in 2015. Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, Ola said: "It is very sad. I am close to Neil and Katya – not very close – but we are friends. And it's sad, it's really sad, but if that's what they needed to do, then that's what they needed to do."
She added: "They obviously tried to work on things, and it didn't work out. So, I really hope they're both okay and that, you know, everything is fine. It is really hard."
Ola quit Strictly in 2015
Ola, who this week partnered with Sainsbury's on their combatting loneliness campaign, was quick to praise Neil, saying he definitely deserves a celebrity partner this year. "He's been a part of the show for a while now, even when I was on the show he was choreographing numbers and he deserves a partner," said Ola.
"What people don't realise is that Neil is one of the best dancers around in our dance business. People look very often at looks, and look at Gorka and Giovanni and Aljaz, but Neil is very, very good, he's a very qualified professional dancer, and I think he should get a partner. He deserves it because he's one of the best ones there. And I'm not just saying that because he's my friend!"
Neil and Katya Jones announced their split last weekend
Neil and Katya famously made headlines last year after the Russian dancer was pictured kissing her celebrity dance partner at the time, Seann Walsh. Alluding to the incident, Ola added: "I feel because Neil went through such a hard time last year, he should be given more – he should get a partner, and have a bit of fun and – he's very artistic, Neil, and I think he would be very good with ideas, choreographing ideas and things like that."
Ola may have left Strictly four years ago, but her other dance projects have kept her on her toes. Earlier this week she was reunited with former Strictly star Abbey Clancy as they travelled up to Marske-by-the-Sea to attend a party for the older community. As part of Sainsbury's 150th birthday, the supermarket threw a fun-filled bash in the hope of bringing elderly neighbours together – after research found a decline in social connections amongst over 65s.
Ola partnered with Sainsbury's this week to attend a party
"It was such an amazing party to be involved in, and I loved seeing all the older customers and Sainsbury's colleagues up and dancing together," said Ola. "Dancing and music are amazing at bringing people together, and seeing how much the event meant to the local community I hope it encourages them and other elderly people to keep dancing."
The Polish beauty, who is married to fellow dancer James Jordan, added: "Loneliness must be really hard, especially in older age. If I weren't with my husband, I don't know what I would do. I'd be lost I think. Most of these people are lonely at home and they've got no one to talk to. And that's what Sainsbury's noticed, there's a lot of older people coming in who just wanted to chat. They'll buy their milk and they'll just want to stand and chat for half an hour, and it must be really sad, so that's why Sainsbury's decided to do something about it, to get some people together."
The dancer was reunited with Abbey Clancy
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