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Kristina Rihanoff almost quit Strictly Come Dancing over personal life speculation

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Kristina Rihanoff has revealed she nearly quit Strictly Come Dancing after constant intrusion into her personal life. The professional dancer, who is reportedly dating former contestant Ben Cohen, said she had been close to leaving the show during the last series.

"Last year, [I was] almost there," she said during an appearance on Loose Women. "I was in a bad place because my mother was suffering with a breast cancer scare and the press were so horrific at that time that I thought that maybe there was a time where I needed to step out.

KristinaRihanoff © Photo: Rex

Kristina Rihanoff said she almost quit Strictly Come Dancing

"She [my mother] was extremely upset and she was absolutely devastated to read some of those things."

The 37-year-old said that she wanted to be recognised for her dancing ability rather than her relationships.

"I didn't come on the show to be portrayed in a certain way or for my private life to be slashed across the papers, because we all want some privacy," Kristina said. "I think because I was raised in Soviet Russia for me it was always - let your work speak for itself, it's all about what you do on the dance floor, how good you are as a dancer, as a choreographer and as a coach for your celebrities. That’s what should be the topic of conversation."

KristinaRihanoff1 © Photo: BBC

Kristina Rihanoff has been linked to her former dance partner Ben Cohen

Kristina added that she understood she would get attention from her appearance on the show, but said she didn't think it should always be negative.

"They don't really know the truth and the thing is, it's really up to me and the person I'm with to live out life and decide what's right, what's wrong."

The professional dancer has been linked to her former dance partner Ben Cohen since his split from wife Abby in September. At the time the rugby star spoke out to deny speculation and said that no third party was involved in the split.