Stacey Dooley has given fans an insight into the early days of her relationship with boyfriend Kevin Clifton - and revealed how the pair coped with the backlash from her ex-boyfriend, Sam Tucknott.
During a candid chat with You Magazine, the 34-year-old said she did her best to avoid a "slanging match" with her ex after he found out she was dating her Strictly Come Dancing dance partner.
READ: Karen Hauer blames 'jealousy' for Kevin Clifton divorce in incredibly candid confession
WATCH: Stacey Dooley gave fans a peek inside her cosy bedroom with Kevin Clifton
The couple, who lifted the Glitterball trophy in December 2018, confirmed their romance a few months later. On how Kevin and his ex-wife Karen Hauer kept things "civil," Stacey revealed she wanted to do the same.
MORE: Karen Hauer admits living alone is 'so hard' after split from David Webb
READ: Stacey Dooley makes candid revelation about relationship with Kevin Clifton
"I was in America when that happened and I'd had no idea it was going to be all over the front pages," Stacey said of her Sam's explosive post-split interview. "I just thought, 'I need to take a moment and not react.'
"I didn't want to get into a slanging match. Because there was a time when I really loved Sam. I adored his family. And I still really want what's best for him. I just… feel like I’ve grown a lot."
Stacey and Kevin confirmed their romance in early 2019
Personal trainer Sam, whom she dated for seven years, had spoken out publicly against the documentary-maker. At the time, he claimed that Stacey had left him to be in a relationship with her dance partner, Kevin. The stars seemingly confirmed their romance in April 2019 after posting a photo of them cuddling up together.
MORE: Kevin Clifton is every inch the ultimate boyfriend with cute snap of Stacey Dooley
"I'm never ever going to say anything that would hurt him," added Stacey. "It's actually one of the things I really love about Kevin. He and Karen [Hauer, Kevin's ex-wife and fellow Strictly pro dancer] have always been really amicable. Karen and I have always been really amicable. We toured the country together for the show. We're all grown-ups."
Karen Hauer and Kevin continued to work together on Strictly after their split
Last year, Karen also touched upon their friendship, telling Closer Magazine: "I've just toured with Stacey and I love her to bits. We get on very well. It won’t be weird to see us all hanging out together as couples."
The pro dancer said of her marriage to Kevin: "The year we broke up was traumatic and heartbreaking. It was a shock for us both, but I think it was something that was a long time coming and we ignored the signs. We both had different schedules, long working days, and we just didn’t see each other very much."
Make sure you never miss a story! Sign up to our newsletter to get all of our celebrity, royal and lifestyle news delivered directly to your inbox.