Strictly Come Dancing: 15 times the infamous 'curse' has struck in the show's 15-year history

Isobel Frodsham
Dooley and Clifton won Strictly Come Dancing last year: BBC
Dooley and Clifton won Strictly Come Dancing last year: BBC

Over the years, Strictly Come Dancing has hit the headlines with its fantastic dances, glittering displays and feisty judges. But one consistent controversy – and headline-grabber - has been the so-called “Strictly curse”.

The 'curse' has seen both contestants and professional dancers face relationship troubles during the time on the show, or shortly after.

It claimed its first victims way back in 2004, when reports claimed Bredan Cole and Natasha Kaplinsky had begun an affair while partnered together on the show.

The duo strenuously denied the claims but the gossip put pressure on Cole's relationship with his fiancée ​Camilla Dallerup - also a dancer on the show - and they soon split.

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Over the years, several more couples have suffered similar fates.

Here are all of the celebrities who have been embroiled in 'curse' reports in the show's 16 series...

Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole

(BBC)
(BBC)

The newsreader and Cole faced rumours they were having an affair during the first series, in 2004.

Both denied the claims but the gossip led to the breakdown of Cole's relationship with fellow professional and fiancée Camilla Dallerup.

Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace

(PA)
(PA)

Strictly professional Cacace was in a relationship with her dance partner Vincent Simone when she was paired with actor Matt Di Angelo in 2007.

The pair were rumoured to be having an affair throughout their time on the show, which they contiously denied.

When Cacace split from Simone though, she began dating Di Angelo. She has since married Jimi Mistry, who she was paired with in the competition in 2010.

Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe

(BBC)
(BBC)

Not every split involves rumours of infidelity as sometimes, it seems, taking part alone puts pressure on relationships.

Hollyoaks actor Whittle split up with his girlfriend, fellow soap star Carley Stenson, eight weeks in to the competition.

Whittle and his professional partner Lowe went ended up being runners up in the 2009 series.

Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff

(BBC)
(BBC)

Former boxer Joe Calzaghe split with his girlfriend of five years Jo-Emma Larvin weeks after he started in the show in 2009.

Calzaghe and Rihanoff were later booted off the competition in week five. They subsequently announced they were in a relationship and dated for four years.

Dani Harmer

(PA)
(PA)

The Tracy Beaker star competed in Strictly in 2012 and was paired with Vincent Simone. But just days into the competition, it was reported Harmer had split from her boyfriend, Graeme Livingstone.

But Harmer did not let that stop her from succeeding and ended up reaching the final with Simone, finishing in fourth place.

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev

(BBC)
(BBC)

The Countdown presenter starred on the show in 2013 and was paired with Pasha Kovalev. They were both eliminated in the sixth week after losing out in the dance-off against Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Škorjanec.

But just weeks after appearing on the show it was reported Riley had split from her husband, Jamie Gilbert, after growing apart and no one else was said to be involved in the split.

Riley and Kovalev later began dating in 2014 and married in Las Vegas in June this year. The couple are currently expecting their first child.

Susanna Reid

(PA)
(PA)

In 2013, the Good Morning Britain host was named as the runner-up to the eleventh series.

Weeks later, Reid announced she and her long term partner Dominic Cotton had broken up after 16 years together.

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff

Cohen and Rihanoff have gone the distance (BBC)
Cohen and Rihanoff have gone the distance (BBC)

The former England rugby player and professional dancer denied rumours they were secretly getting romantic while on the show in 2013.

Months after the show finished, Cohen announced he was “taking time apart” from his wife of 11 years, Abby.

He and Rihanoff later revealed they were a couple, but have insisted they got together after Cohen split from his wife.

They now have a daughter, who was born in June 2016.

Caroline Flack

Caroline and Pasha won the Glitterball trophy (BBC)
Caroline and Pasha won the Glitterball trophy (BBC)

The Love Island host danced her way to victory with Pasha Kovalev in 2014 after scoring three perfect scores of 40, which – at the time – was a first for a Strictly final.

But while Flack was triumphing on the dancefloor, her relationship was under strain and during the series, she and boyfriend, Jack Street, called it quits.

Georgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice

Georgia and Giovanni (BBC)
Georgia and Giovanni (BBC)

The actress was in a relationship with her Coronation Street co-star Sean Ward when she starred the competition in 2015.

However, just after the series ended, Foote and Ward announced their split. Then - yes you've guessed it - Foote and Pernice announced they had begun dating. They later split after less than a year together

Louise Redknapp

Louise and Kevin Clifton (Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images)
Louise and Kevin Clifton (Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images)

When the singer reached the final of the 2016 series, rumours swirled her 19-year marriage to former footballer Jamie Redknapp was on the rocks.

The couple later confirmed they had split up – and reflecting on the split, the singer later said: "

Strictly put the fire back in my belly, but it didn't break up my relationship.

"After 20 years of marriage, it takes a lot more than that."

Louise filed for divorce in 2017.

Daisy Lowe

Daisy Lowe and Aljaz Skorjanec (PA)
Daisy Lowe and Aljaz Skorjanec (PA)

The model joined the competition in 2016 while dating Bradley Wade.

Weeks into the competition, representatives said the couple had mutually agreed to call time on their three-month relationship due to their “busy schedules”.

Kevin and Karen Clifton

Karen and Kevin are Strictly mainstays (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Karen and Kevin are Strictly mainstays (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The Strictly pros married in 2015, after Kevin Kevin proposed to Karen on stage during a performance of Burn the Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

But in March 2018, they confirmed that they were no longer together romantically.

The pair have continued to work together professionally and remain close friends.

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

Stacey and Kevin won last year's series (BBC)
Stacey and Kevin won last year's series (BBC)

Dooley and Clifton were paired together last year, while Dooley was dating Sam Tucknott.

Soon after the couple won the series, Tucknott announced he had split from his girlfriend of five years and claimed Clifton was the reason why.

It wa later confirmed that Dooley and Clifton had begun a relationship - though when this started remains unclear - and the journalist later said there “two sides to every story”.

Seann Walsh, Katya Jones and Neil Jones

Neil and Katya Jones (PA)
Neil and Katya Jones (PA)

Comedian Seann Walsh and his dance partner Katya Jones hit headlines when they photographed kissing in the street last year - despite the fact Walsh was in a relationship with Rebecca Humphries, while Katya was married to her fellow pro.

While the Joneses stated their relationship was going to remain in tact, things went from bad to worse for Walsh, when it was revealed the night he kissed Katya was also his girlfriend's birthday.

Humphries subsequently announced her decision to split up with him on Twitter.

(BBC/Guy Levy)
(BBC/Guy Levy)

Last month, Katya and Neil announced they have now parted ways - though both denied the Walsh saga had anything to do with their decision.

The 2019 series of Strictly will see Neil paired with a celebrity for the first time ever.

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