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Rachel Riley - Biography

Countdown presenter Rachel Riley is married to Strictly star Pasha Kovalev 

Rachel Riley smiling in a red dress
Phoebe Tatham
Phoebe TathamContent Writer
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Who is Rachel Riley?

Born in 1986 in Southend Essex, Rachel gained 4 A grades at A Level before attending Oriel College, Oxford, where she gained a second class honours degree in mathematics. She initially considered a career in marketing, before her mother encouraged her to audition for Channel 4's iconic game show, Countdown

When the show's original 'human calculator' Carol Vorderman retired from her role in 2008 after 26 years, Channel 4 began searching for an unknown host to replace her. Rachel, then 22, beat 1000 other applicants to win the coveted role as resident maths whizz. 

While there was some controversy that 48-year-old Carol had been replaced by a much younger woman, the girl from Southend soon won over her critics. Speaking about her new role, Rachel said: "There's only one cool maths job around and I was lucky enough to get it so I'm absolutely thrilled". 

She is known for her humour, and her inability to stifle giggles when the occasional rude word pops up in the letters round. "I'll put some letters up and, because I’m playing along in my head as the letters come out, I just start giggling,” said the brainiac. In June 2013, Rachel landed her second presenting role, joining Channel 5's The Gadget Show alongside Jason Bradbury. 

Her family life

In her excitement, she described the two jobs as "my dream combo!" Exhibiting the can-do attitude which has led to her success, Rachel added a third TV show to her schedule when she was announced as a Strictly Come Dancing contestant in September 2013. She was partnered with Russian professional Pasha Kovalev. 

Rachel married her boyfriend from university, Jamie Gilbert in August 2012. She had previously announced the engagement on Countdown. Her Countdown co-host Nick Hewer told HELLO!: "Of course, Rachel is one of the most beautiful women in England. When you've got brains and beauty combined, then you've hit the jackpot – at least Mr Gilbert has."

The couple split in 2013 after their relationship crumbled. A year later, the famous mathematician confirmed her romance with Strictly dance partner Pasha Kovalev. 

After a whirlwind romance, lovebirds Rachel and Pasha secretly tied the knot in Las Vegas. The couple went on to welcome two adorable daughters - Maven and Noa. 

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