Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer stepped back into the spotlight this autumn with the return of Strictly Come Dancing. It's been 20 months since the couple shocked fans with the news that their marriage was over – despite that, the pair remain good friends, and are hugely supportive of each other's professional and private lives. Both have since moved on romantically since their split; Kevin is dating Stacey Dooley, with whom he won the 2018 series, while Karen is happily loved up with opera singer David Webb. But there is no bad blood between the former couple. Asked recently about Kevin's romance with Stacey, Karen graciously replied: "I don’t really know anything about that. When we go in [to rehearsals] we're literally going crazy with all the routines. But you know what he looks extremely happy, so I'm happy that he's happy."
At the time of their separation, Karen and Kevin chose to sit down with HELLO! magazine for their exclusive first interview since announcing the end of their marriage. And their comments gave a real insight into their loving relationship, and their determination to remain friends above all else…
Karen and Kevin Clifton spoke to HELLO! following their 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."
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The couple confirmed their split in March 2018
Karen further 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 pair remain great friends
Karen also insisted that their split wouldn't change 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 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."
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Asked whether they would ever dance together again on 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 rumours that she was 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 the future, 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."
Karen and Kevin are both currently appearing on Strictly
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Kevin also 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 expressed their surprsie that Brendan Cole was fired from the 2018 series, with Karen saying: "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."
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