Strictly Come Dancing star Karen Hauer has been dazzling viewers with her routines once again as she takes part in this year's show. Last month, the professional dancer and her opera singer boyfriend David Webb gave their first interview and photoshoot together at home to HELLO! magazine. "He's my rock. It's so nice to have someone that understands and accepts me, doesn't judge and doesn't try to change me in any way. Everyone just falls in love with him too, because he has such a beautiful soul," the 37-year-old dancer told the magazine.
Of the relationship, David said: "Karen inspires me to be the best version of myself. I'm the luckiest man on this earth." In the exclusive interview, the couple, who have been living together since April, revealed for the first time how they met at the UK premiere of the Disney film Coco in January 2018, several months after the breakdown of her marriage to reigning Strictly champion Kevin Clifton. "I don't watch TV and I didn't really know the Strictly dancers, so I asked what she did," revealed the 36-year-old tenor, who is currently performing with the English Touring Opera.
WATCH: Karen and David give us a guided tour round their home
Karen, who teased him by first telling him she was a painter, said: "It was just nice to chat with someone, to laugh and for it to be so natural; to have a really normal conversation." Of coming to terms with her marriage break-up, she said, "I'd taken a big hit and I was going through a whole explosion of emotions. My life was completely changing from one day to another. It did affect me mentally and physically – I wasn’t in a good place." Would she consider marrying again? "Never say never," she tells HELLO!. "It’s really beautiful to be married, regardless of what’s happened in the past." Of Kevin she added, "We do have a really lovely relationship. I know I'll never lose his friendship. There was always so much love there and admiration and respect."
Karen and David with their dogs Betsy and Marley
Of how he has found love too, with his former Strictly partner, TV documentary maker Stacey Dooley, she added, "It's nice to see him calm which I had not seen in years. Maybe it takes that bit of trauma to make you both realise this is what we need to do. And at the same time, we haven’t lost one another." After Strictly, Karen and David will be spending Christmas in New York, after which she will be preparing for her 18-date tour Firedance, when she and Strictly favourite Gorka Márquez will light up the stage with salsas, sambas, flamencos and tangos.
The loved-up couple met in January 2018
This is Karen's first interview with HELLO! since last December where she opened up about her "intense year". The professional dancer – who went home to New York to spend Christmas with her family – revealed that she was now in a better place than ever since the start of the year, following her split from Kevin. "Last year I was here in New York on my own, as Kevin spent Christmas with his family," she said at the time. "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."
Speaking of his win with now-girlfriend Stacey, 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."
During the festive trip, Karen was accompanied by David although at that point they were still keeping their relationship on the down low. Even so the TV star hinted about finding love again. "Having love in my life is a beautiful thing," she said. "There is definitely no ruling that out."
For tickets and dates for Firedance, go to https://firedancelive.co.uk
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.