While Strictly Come Dancing has sparked the beginning – and end – of many relationships over the years, former winner Jay McGuiness says he doesn't believe in the 'Strictly curse'. The Wanted star, who was the subject of romance rumours during his own time on the show with professional dancer Aliona Vilani, opened up to HELLO! about their friendship over two years after they won in 2015.
When asked whether he thinks the 'Strictly curse' exists, Jay said: "No. I think people definitely get really close over the course of Strictly regardless of whatever their relationship is, you end up close because you go through something together. But I think it's down to people to make those choices of their own lives."
Jay McGuiness said he doesn't believe in the Strictly curse
The 27-year-old opened up about his friendship with his former dance partner Aliona, who has since left the show to start a family in Florida. "We live in different countries so we're as close as you can be with an ocean between you. But every now and again I'll go down memory lane and send her a video and she'll send me something back in return and reminisce on stuff," Jay said. "But she's in a new chapter of her life now, she has a baby and she's in Florida and I think she's just enjoying a little more of the reality of life."
MORE: Jay McGuiness says Strictly Come Dancing reality TV ban could be a mistake
Despite Jay winning the show with Aliona in 2015, beating Georgia May Foote and Kellie Bright, he says there is only one thing that makes a winner. "The public vote. I think people can really fall in love with your dancing, and then you still don't win, or people can really like you as a person and you still don't win," he said. "It actually comes down to who votes. Even if someone does amazing and the judges love them all the way through the series, I think that when you're all stood there waiting for the results no one has any idea of who might get through."
The Wanted star is supporting the World Meat Free Week campaign
Jay was speaking to HELLO! as part of his work supporting the World Meat Free Week campaign, which encourages members of the public to swap one meal a week for a meat-free alternative. The former boy band star, who has been vegetarian since he was a child, encouraged people to give it a try as it could make a huge impact to both animals and the environment.
MORE: The best vegetarian restaurants in the UK
Revealing why he's so passionate about the campaign, Jay said: "I'm vegetarian, I have been for many years and I would say that I'm a shy vegetarian, I don't want to go around banging the drum and intimidate people. But World Meat Free Week is just really casual and trying to encourage people to change one meal and I don't think that's too much of an ask. It's a really nice, friendly intro and I thought it was a great idea."