Pasha Kovalev's Strictly Come Dancing colleagues have flooded him and partner Rachel Riley with congratulatory messages after learning that the couple are expecting a baby together. It sounds like the news came as a total surprise to the likes of Karen Clifton, since she commented on Rachel's Instagram post: "Omg congratulations!!" and Janette Manrara added: "Aghhhhhh!!!!!! Congratulations!!! Incredible news!! So so happy for you both." Oti Mabuse added across two replies: "This is the best news. Congratulations."
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Rachel announced that she and Pasha are expecting on Friday night, with an adorable Instagram post. Sharing a photo of herself cradling her baby bump, she posed in front of the famous Countdown board with the letters spelling out 'R TINY MATE', which is an anagram of the word 'maternity'. She captioned it: "Pash and I have a conundrum for you. You have till December to work it out! We're over the moon excited."
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Other stars to send their congratulations included former Strictly contestant Charlotte Hawkins, who wrote: "Ahh what fabulous news congratulations to you both!!" and comedian Sarah Millican, who added: "Massive congratulations to you both." Aww.
Rachel and Pasha met when they were partnered on the 2013 series of the BBC contest. They started dating in 2014, after Rachel split from husband Jamie Gilbert the previous year. Last month Rachel opened up about the demise of her marriage to Jamie, her high school sweetheart, revealing Strictly was not the reason for the split – although, her filming commitment gave them some distance. "At that time, I was doing Countdown and The Gadget Show, so I was living in Essex," she told GQ. "I was filming in Birmingham and in Salford, and then filming Strictly in Borehamwood, with a bit of It Takes Two in London. I was getting three hours' sleep a night, trying to fit in all these things."
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She added: "All you want to do at that time is the dancing because you know you’ve got to do this thing in a few days," she added. When asked if Strictly had contributed to the split, Rachel replied: "No. I'm still friends with my ex-husband. He's great, he's a brilliant guy." She added: "We were together since I was 19 and it wasn't right… What Strictly did give me was distance - because I was away from home in Birmingham, Salford, Borehamwood. It was the emotional distance that I needed to break away."