Rachel Riley Voices Frustration Over Strictly Come Dancing 'Curse' Comments

The Countdown star met her husband Pasha Kovalev when they danced together on Strictly.
Rachel Riley at the British Takeaway Awards in 2018
Rachel Riley at the British Takeaway Awards in 2018
Future Publishing via Getty Images

Rachel Riley has admitted she’s grown tired of having her relationship cited as an example of the so-called Strictly Come Dancing “curse”.

Over the years, Strictly has become synonymous with what the media refers to as the show’s “curse” which has seen several celebrity contestants’ relationships ending during or after their time on the show, many of whom then end up getting together with their professional partners.

The Countdown presenter competed on Strictly in 2013, and shortly after the show ended she split from her ex-husband, later announcing that she and her former dancer partner Pasha Kovalev were an item.

Rachel and Pasha have now been married for almost two years, and have two children together.

Pasha and Rachel at an event last year
Pasha and Rachel at an event last year
SOPA Images via Getty Images

During an appearance on the podcast Dirty Mother Pukka, the Maths expert was asked when she first fell in love with Pasha, insisting it was long after their time on Strictly together.

“That wasn’t until much later,” she explained, noting that “at the time I did it I was married”.

When asked for her feelings about the Strictly “curse”, Rachel continued: “I mean I still get it, I’m never going to avoid it.

“But now it’s like, you know, we’ve got two children. At what point can you just not call my children ‘the Strictly curse’?”

She added that her appearance on Strictly was now almost a decade ago, telling the host she “only had to answer to myself and my family”.

Rachel at the Strictly launch in 2013
Rachel at the Strictly launch in 2013
John Phillips via Getty Images

Last year, Rachel admitted that Strictly is something she now intentionally avoids, having undergone therapy for PTSD after her time on the show.

“I needed cognitive behavioural therapy after competing in 2013 and developed post-traumatic stress disorder,” she said.

“If I heard the theme music, I’d start reliving the experience. It was scary and unnerving, so my way of dealing with it is to avoid watching.”

Rachel previously claimed she’d advised famous pals against taking part, and also knows others who “have dropped out of it due to the mental pressures involved”.


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