Strictly Come Dancing may well and truly be over for another year, but the pro dancers and celebrities have made lasting friendships. One of the closest couples were Neil Jones and Alex Scott, who were sadly booted off the competition in early December. Their bond made headlines to the point that fans even suspected they were more than just friends. But in an exclusive interview with HELLO! in October - one of our most-read stories of the year - Neil and Alex quickly set the record straight on those persistent romance rumours.
At the time, Neil said: "There's nothing on our minds but the show – we don't have time to think about anything else. I'm single but I haven’t even thought about dating. Coming out of a long-term relationship I’m just focusing on Strictly." Neil split from his wife, fellow Strictly pro Katya, in August. Alex added: "I'm single but it's not like I need to find someone. I like things to happen organically and if someone comes into my life and we get on, then great. It's not like I need to go searching for it."
Neil, 37, is still close to 30-year-old Katya and the pair, who are Latin American world champions, run a dance school together in Hampshire. Fans have expressed concern for Katya, who was partnered with BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell, when she burst into tears before the pair were eliminated, but Neil says: "In their rehearsals they kept going wrong and Mike kept missing steps so when they danced that quickstep and he nailed it from beginning to end, that was her letting go and going: 'Wow, you did it.' We all felt it."
"Katya and I are still really good friends. We've been dancing together for 11 years. She's supportive, I'm supportive to her. We’re in a really good place."
The former couple were together for 11 years and married for six before announcing their separation in August. They posted a joint statement to both of their Instagram accounts which said, in part: "We will always love each other, just in a different way as friends. This will never change what a great team we make and we are really proud of everything we have achieved together."
Earlier this year, prior to his split from Katya, Neil opened up about his desire to have a celebrity partner in this series. "I am happy with whatever happens but of course I would love to have a celebrity partner," he told HELLO!. "It is nice as each year the support gets stronger and stronger. There is that one day when the pros go into the room and meet all the celebrities and I've felt that a bit. The celebrities have sometimes said: 'So, who do you hope to dance with?' I say: 'I don't get anyone,' and they are like: 'Oh, okay,' while I think I wish I did."
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