Katya Jones has revealed that Kevin Clifton's exit Strictly Come Dancing came as a shock to everyone. The 30-year-old admitted that none of the dancers on the show were given a heads up about his decision to leave after seven years on the series. "I was shocked and had no idea. It was a surprise for all of us," Katya told MailOnline at the TRIC Awards on Tuesday. Katya is excited to see what's next for Kevin though, adding: "I love to see our professionals do other things. It's exciting. He has so many passions and I'm really happy for him. Of course, as far as Strictly's concerned, we are losing a good professional. But I'm really happy he's growing and doing other things. He's so talented and fab."
Kevin Clifton quit Strictly after seven years on the show
Kevin revealed last Friday that he won't be returning to Strictly. In his statement on social media, Kevin thanked his fans for their support over the years. "The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life," he said. "I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special." He added: "Thank you to anyone who has ever voted for me and my partners. It means the world. And a special thank you to Jason Gilkison for always believing in me.
"To me Strictly always has been and always will be the best show on TV and has been an absolute dream and honour to be a part of. Pre 2013 I used to watch every week. Now I look forward to returning to being a fan and cheering on my friends who keep dancing. Kevin Clifton." Responding to his post, girlfriend Stacey Dooley remarked: "I could burst with pride. Undeniably, the most successful pro on Strictly. Won everything, treated everyone with respect and kindness, worked SO bloody hard and now, leaving on a high. You will always be the King of Strictly."
MORE: Kevin Clifton celebrates Stacey Dooley's 33rd birthday in the sweetest way after Strictly exit
Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley met on Strictly in 2018
MORE: Joanne Clifton congratulates brother Kevin Clifton in the sweetest way
She further paid tribute to her partner, writing: "[Kevin] will always be the King of Strictly. Well done darling. Watch this space!!!!" Shortly afterwards, reports emerged claiming Stacey was the person who "pushed" his decision. However, the documentary-maker immediately quashed the rumours, tweeting: "Honestly, we knew this would happen. And so it starts, again…. Utter nonsense."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.