Strictly Come Dancing couples that survived the so-called Strictly curse

These stars are still together

Strictly Come Dancing is finally back on our screens, making now the perfect time to look back at past love matches from the hit show. 

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We've all heard about the famous 'Strictly curse' where contestants – and a few professional dancers – start off the series in relationships only to have their heads turned by their gorgeous dance partners.

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  It happened to pro dancer Brendan Cole with Natasha Kaplinsky back in series one and Flavia Cacace and Matt Di Angelo in series four. In 2018 Seann Walsh and Katya Jones were pictured kissing during the series. 

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While Katya's husband Neil Jones appeared to forgive his wife at the time, they announced their separation months later, and Seann was dumped by his girlfriend Rebecca Humphries immediately following the scandal.

Then, during the 2019 series, AJ Pritchard and his partner Saffron Barker were forced to repeatedly deny romance rumours, as were Neil Jones and Alex Scott.

However, while love is often lost on the show, it's not all doom and gloom for the stars. This might surprise you, but quite a few Strictly couples who met on the programme, or appeared already in a relationship, have actually weathered the sequin-covered storm and are still together today. Read on to find out who they are...

Kelvin Fletcher and Elizabeth Marsland

Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher was paired with Oti Mabuse in 2019 and wowed judges and the viewers so much they went on to lift the iconic glitterball trophy as series 17 champions.

The actor often spoke about how supportive his wife, Elizabeth Marsland, was throughout the week while he was away training for his show-stopping routines. The pair married in 2015 and share son, Milo and daughter, Marnie.

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Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez

Gemma and Gorka met during Strictly 2017 but kept their romance under wraps until the series ended. Unusually for Strictly, they weren't dance partners – Gemma was coupled with Aljaz Skorjanec and Gorka danced with Alexandra Burke.

Three years on, the gorgeous couple are still going strong and welcomed daughter Mia on 4 July 2019. 

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In a previous interview with HELLO!, Gemma told us: "Gorka is like my best mate. He's very supportive and understanding of my career, and I'm very supportive and understanding of his. It works well. I hope he's The One, otherwise I wouldn't be with him."

Gorka said: "She makes me laugh, she makes me happy. I'm lucky to have her beside me." You guys!

Dianne Buswell and Joe Sugg

During Dianne's second year on the popular BBC show, in 2018, the talented redhead was partnered up with YouTuber and social media star Joe. The two reached the final of the competition, finishing as runners-up, and in December that year announced that they were a couple.

Since then, the popular pair have gone from strength to strength, and often gush about each other on social media, frequently sharing videos and photos taken inside the gorgeous London flat that they share.

Speaking recently to HELLO!, Dianne remarked how having Joe and her Strictly friends around has made it easier to build a life so far away from her native Australia.

"The UK has been amazing to me and Strictly is my home away from home, because there is such a family vibe," she said. "That's really helped me a lot and since meeting Joe, I have his family here who really make me feel like I have my own family."

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

Stacey and Kevin started dating in early 2019 just months after they won Strictly together, and now live together in Stacey's new stylish London home and are expecting their first baby together!

 It seems that journalist Stacey had a crush on the former Strictly professional before even meeting him.

In September, Kevin unearthed an old tweet from Stacey, in which she gushed over one of the professional dancers who had joined Strictly Come Dancing back in 2013.

Kevin found out that his partner had either harboured a crush on him or fellow newbie Aljaz Skorjanec for years. Stacey's old tweet had read: "OMG! That new guy?! I likey [heart-eyes emoji] God I love Strictly!"

Upon seeing the message, Stacey joked that she was fawning over Aljaz, writing: "@jmanrara is gonna kill me... [sic]." To which an unimpressed Kevin hit back: "@sjdooley erm..."

Although Kevin announced his retirement from Strictly this year, he and Stacey are still one of our favourite duos to have found love on the ballroom floor! 

Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes

Not even dancing with Strictly veteran Anton du Beke could end this union! Ruth, who took part in the 2017 series, and Eamonn have been happily married since 2010 and have been together for a total of 22 years.

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In true Eamonn style though, he joked last year that Ruth's turn on the dancefloor was "nearly the end of our marriage". We can't ever see that happening!

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev

Rachel first met Pasha, when they were partnered together on the BBC ballroom competition back in 2013. At the time she was in her first year of marriage to high school sweetheart Jamie Gilbert but they split soon after her appearance on Strictly.

Ok, that's kind of curse material, but Rachel and Pasha are still together six years on. They secretly tied the knot in a Las Vegas ceremony in July 2019, and on the 15 December 2019, Rachel gave birth to their first child, a baby girl called Mave. And now, they're about to welcome their second child - congrats!

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Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch

It will take more than the Strictly 'curse' to break up Abbey Clancy and her husband Peter Crouch! The couple have weathered a few storms during their relationship, but despite the model being paired up with hunky Aljaz Skorjanec in 2013, she and Peter are stronger than ever.

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec

Janette and Aljaz dated for two years before they joined the Strictly pro dancer team in 2013. Two years later the sweet couple got engaged, married in 2017 and are still happily coupled up today. A little known fact is that Janette briefly dated fellow dancers Pasha Kovalev and Artem Chigvintsev in the past but ultimately, Aljaz was the one for her. Strictly curse don't you dare touch these two!

Ola and James Jordan

We love the Jordans! Did you know that Ola and James have been together for 18 years and no Strictly curse has pulled them apart? Impressive. The dancers were long-time Strictly pros, both joining in 2006 and James leaving in 2013 and Ola in 2015.

Ola has previously told HELLO! about the secret to their long-lasting marriage, saying: "Because we danced together and spent so much time together, we grew closer and fell in love, and then when we didn't spend time together, we missed each other. We just wanted to spend more and more time together and I think that's what made us be together. We've always liked each other's company."

Frankie and Wayne Bridge

Frankie Bridge was a newly-married woman when she competed on Strictly alongside Kevin Clifton in 2014. Despite the gruelling rehearsal schedule and months spent dedicated to the show – where she reached the final – Frankie and her husband Wayne are still happily married today.

In fact, Frankie was forced to pull out of the Strictly tour the following year because she was pregnant with her second child. 

Kai Waiddrington and Nadiya Bychkova

Strictly Professionals  Kai  and  Nadiya confirmed their romance earlier this year after the pair had been spotted getting cosy with one another and even sharing a kiss. Speaking to the Daily Mail's Weekend Magazine in April, the Ukrainian-born pro confirmed that she and Kai had been dating "for a couple of months now".

She continued; "It's early days and we've been rehearsing for the Strictly Professionals tour, so there's been very little free time. But we're getting to know more and more about each other day by day. He's kind and compassionate and makes me laugh. I feel very relaxed with him."

She also revealed that the budding couple have earned the support of their castmates, and had even gone on date nights to watch their fellow stars perform. In the interview, Nadiya also opened up about her split from fiancé, Matija Škarabot, who she shares a five-year-old daughter, Mila, with. "You're apart for so much of your lives and neither of us wanted that. Unfortunately, we grew apart," she explained.

She added: "Having a child surpasses everything else. We make sure it all works around her and we both understand our responsibilities."

Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen

Kristina and Ben were partnered together in the 2013 series of Strictly and embarked on a relationship a year later, in 2014, following the end of his marriage to Abby, his wife of 11 years.

Earlier this year, the duo were publicly issued an apology by Strictly Come Dancing host  Claudia Winkleman, after she claimed Kristina and Ben began their romance whilst participating in the dance show back in 2013.

According to the MailOnlineClaudia said she was "so, so sorry," before clarifying that she misunderstood the question she was asked on stage.

"I thought the question was about who has found long-time love [via Strictly]," she wrote.

The pair appear to be happier than ever and share their six-year-old daughter Mila, as well as run their fabulous wellness studio which recently won the Muddy Stilettos award for Best Yoga/Pilates studio in Northamptonshire, having previously won the award in 2021.

Flavia Cacace and Jimi Mistry

Former Coronation Street actor Jimi fell for pro dancer Flavia when they were paired together in 2010. They married in 2013 and are still together today, living in Surrey. Hurrah! Before finding lasting love with Jimi, Flavia had two relationships on the show - she dated actor Matt DiAngelo and her professional dance partner Vincent Simone. Meanwhile, Jimi has a daughter from a previous marriage.

Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova

Remember Darren and Lilia? Dedicated Strictly fans will remember the professional dancers from back in 2004's series two when they joined the show. The couple performed on Strictly for six years before leaving the show at the same time.

They are something of a rarity when it comes to SCD as they married before joining the show in 1999, stayed together during the show and are still together now with a baby girl Valentina Rose. What curse?

Faye Tozer and Michael Smith

Faye Tozer is still married to her husband of almost ten years, Michael Smith. The Steps singer was partnered with Giovanni Pernice in the 2018 series, and despite a 'cosy' dinner between the two at the time, Faye is still very happy with her husband. 

Emma Weymouth and Ceawlin Thynn Emma Weymouth took part in Strictly for series 17 alongside long-serving pro, Aljaz Skorjanec. The model is married to Ceawlin, the 8th Marquess of Bath, who was often seen in the ballroom at Elstree cheering on his wife from the audience.

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The couple, who have two children together, wed in 2013 at their gorgeous family home, the sprawling Longleat estate in Wiltshire. They chose to share their big day with HELLO! with Emma saying at the time: "I looked at the blue sky out of the window and it felt like a dream.

"The sun was shining, my dad looked amazing in his traditional robes, everybody I cared about was in one place and looking happy."

Ore and Portia Oduba 

TV presenter Ore Oduba had a very special Strictly journey because his university sweetheart Portia was pregnant with their first child at the time. Despite morning sickness and tiredness, TV researcher Portia was in the audience cheering on her husband almost every week until he lifted the Glitterball trophy with pro partner Joanne Clifton in 2016. Speaking about his wife, he told HELLO!: "She keeps me grounded. She's my choreographer, stylist, physiotherapist as well as wife."