HomeLifestyleStrictly couples who found love on the dance floor – and those still going strong
Strictly couples who found love on the dance floor – and those still going strong
BBC's hit show Strictly Come Dancing has once again captivated the UK as this year’s crop of celebs vie for the coveted Glitterball trophy.
However, the allure of the show goes beyond dance steps with the chemistry between the celebrity contestants and their professional partners often kindling genuine romances. From unexpected connections to lasting relationships, here's a glance at the couples who found love beyond the ballroom.
Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez
Former Hollyoaks actor and radio presenter Gemma Atkinson, 38, met her fiancé, Gorka Marquez, 33, during the 2017 season. While they weren't each other's dance partners—Gemma was paired with Aljaž Skorjanec and Gorka with Alexandra Burke—the sparks flew backstage.
After initially dismissing rumours of romance, the pair spent New Year's Eve together and confirmed their relationship on Valentine's Day the following year. Now engaged, they share two children, Mia and a baby boy born in July.
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
Journalist Stacey Dooley, 36, clinched the Glitterball Trophy in 2018 and won the heart of her dance partner, Kevin Clifton. Her relationship with Kevin began amid her prior involvement with personal trainer Sam Tucknott, which ended with some public controversy.
However, Stacey and Kevin remain happily together, now as parents to daughter Minnie, born in January.
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
Countdown star Rachel Riley, 37, met Pasha Kovalev, 43, when paired on Strictly in 2013. The dancing chemistry led to a real-life romance after Rachel ended her 16-month marriage to James Gilbert.
The couple married in Las Vegas in 2019, welcoming daughters Maven Aria and Noa. Rachel, who recently revealed that they decided to halt date nights until she stopped breastfeeding Noa, has previously spoken to OK! about being a mum, saying that she enjoys motherhood.
She said: "I’ve found it quite liberating. It makes you live in the moment a lot more."
She also praised her husband Pasha and said: "It’s like we know a totally different baby because all the tricks we know work differently for both of us. Pasha is a wonderful dad. He’s really, really brilliant."
Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell
Youtuber Joe Sugg, 32, found unexpected success on Strictly in 2018 alongside flame-haired dancer Dianne Buswell, 34. The pair ended up falling in love and recently splashed out on a luxurious new home, relocating to a beautiful new £3.5 million five-bedroom home near Brighton.
In a recent Q&A with followers via her Instagram Stories, the red-haired beauty dished the dirt on her and Joe's potential plans for parenthood. A fan asked: "would you ever have kids with Joe". In response, the dancer shared a video clip of her and her partner with her niece, Zofina.
Over the top of the sweet clip, she penned: "We love being aunt and uncle for our beautiful nieces and nephew for now but yes one day we would love it."
Flavia Cacace and Jimi Mistry
Italian dancer Flavia Cacace, 43, and actor Jimi Mistry, 50, were paired on Strictly in 2010, sparking a connection that transcended the dance floor. The pair married in a stunning ceremony in December 2013, with Flavia leaving Strictly in 2013 to "pursue other opportunities," while Jimi retired from acting in 2020.
The couple decided to step away from the spotlight, move to a farm in Devon, and embrace a simpler life together.
Maisie Smith and Max George
The Wanted singer Max George, 35, and former EastEnders star Maisie Smith, 22, found love during their time on the BBC contest in 2020. The couple competed against each other on the show, but it wasn’t until months after they both took part in last year’s arena tour that love blossomed.
Despite the significant age gap and internet trolls, the couple moved in together and , speaking exclusively to OK!, confessed they’re like “two 50-year-olds” who are busy arguing over shades of paint.
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rohanoff
Former Rugby star Ben Cohen, 45, and Russian dancer Kristina Rihanoff, also 45, were partnered on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, while Ben was still married to childhood sweetheart – Abby Cohen – with whom he shares twin daughters.
Kristina then shocked the entire nation when she announced she was pregnant on Celebrity Big Brother in January 2016. The dancer and Ben welcomed daughter Milena on 24 June 2016.
Molly Rainford and Tyler West
Lastly, EastEnders' star Molly Rainford, 22, and radio host Tyler West, 27, sparked rumours during last year's Strictly season.
Initially downplaying their relationship, the couple's romance has since blossomed, with Molly revealing it was her now boyfriend who made the first move and asked her to go out on a date.
"He was like, 'Do you think when we get back, we could go on a date?' and I was like, 'Yeah, alright!' I was totally up for it.”