Strictly Curse: what is ‘curse’ of Strictly Come Dancing, who has been struck, and what did Adam Peaty do?

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The Olympic swimmer was accused of kissing dance partner Katya Jones after Argentine Tango

Strictly Come Dancing is well known for its intimate dances and sequenced attire, as well as celebrities and their professional partners building friendships and close connections.

The Strictly bubble - spending countless hours rehearsing routines, trying out costumes and performing live each weekend - means the pros and the stars become close, sometimes too close.

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The Strictly curse has become quite the feature of the show and each year rumours circulate about intimate relationships between contestants and dancers, often with their or both having a significant other at home.

So, what is the Strictly curse - and has it struck again this year? This is what you need to know.

What is the Strictly curse?

The Strictly curse doesn’t involve potions, wands or funny pointed hats - only a ballroom, Strictly professional and their celebrity partner.

The curse refers to the negative impact on relationships between dancers or contestants and their other-halves which comes from the close relationship formed between those taking part on the programme.

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In some cases, partners on the show have formed relationships while dancing together during the competition. As a result, their outside relationships breakdown and marriages have been known to suffer.

It is largely thought that the racy dance moves, hours of one-to-one teaching and physical closeness between the Strictly pros and their celebrity partners.

Who has been struck by the Strictly curse?

During the 2021 series, rumours began about Katya Jones and Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty, after he appeared to lean in for a kiss during their week five routine.

However, Adam was quick to shut down rumours as he has a girlfriend and young son at home.

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The Strictly curse has struck several times in the past 16 years, here’s the couples who have fallen victim:

2019 - Neil and Katya Jones split following Katya and Seann Walsh affair

The Strictly pros were married and had been together for eleven years before they announced their split in 2019.

The split came following Katya cheating on Neil with her partner, Seann Walsh, during the 2018 series.

2018 - Dianne Buswell and Joe Sugg

Joe Sugg was partnered with Dianne Buswell during the 2018 series of Strictly.

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The Strictly professional ended her 10-month relationship with Emmerdale actor Anthony Quinlan and the Strictly finale aired, Dianne and Joe announced that they were dating.

2018 - Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

TV presenter Stacey Dooley was seen cosying up to her Strictly partner Kevin Clifton during the 2018 series.

The BBC journalist had been in a long-term relationship but after speculation she was interested in Clifton, the pair broke it off.

2017 - Kevin Clifton and Karen Hauer

In March 2018, the wed Strictly pros announced their split, reportedly due to Clifton’s close relationships with contestant Louise Redknapp during the 2017 series.

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Redknapp had recently split from her husband, England footballer Jamie Redknapp.

2015 - Giovanni Pernice and Georgia May Foote

Corrie actress Georgia May Foote had been in a relationship with soapstar and co-star Callum Logan when was partnered with Italian dancer Giovanni Pernice.

During the show, Foote ended her  relationship with Callum and went on to date Giovanni for several months.

2013 - Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen

Former Rugby player Ben Cohen was partnered with Kristina Rihanoff and announced the end of his 11-year marriage to his teenage sweetheart Abby Blayney.

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Kristina and Ben later announced that they were in a relationship and they welcomed a daughter in 2016.

2013 - Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev

Rachel Riley confirmed that she and her husband were getting a divorce in 2013 despite being together since she was 19.

While Rachel denies that the Strictly curse had anything to do with it, she did say that Strictly gave her the distance she needed.

After Strictly ended, Rachel and Pasha started dating with the two moving to Las Vegas in June 2019 and have since welcomed two children together.

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2009 - Kristina Rihanoff and Joe Calzaghe

British boxer Joe Calzaghe was partnered  with Kristina on the 2009 series, during which time he ended his 5-year relationship with Jo-Emma Larvin.

He began dating Kristina while on the show, but the relationship ended around four years later.

2007 - Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace

Flavia Cacace broke up with long-term boyfriend and fellow Strictly pro, Vincent Simone, when she was partnered with EastEnders actor Matt Di Angelo.

Flavia and Matt split in 2013 before she went on to marry her series partner Jimi Mistry.

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2004 - Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole

Natasha and Brendan were coupled together on the first season of Strictly and are known as the first Strictly curse.

Brendan denied anything happened between the pair, despite his relationship with fiance Camilla Dallerup breaking down while he was on the show.

Then, in 2018, he admitted “something happened” between himself and the newsreader.

Other couples who have got together during the show include actor Jimi Mistry and his partner Flavia Cacace, during the 2010 series; Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev who were also partnered on the 2010 series and Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna in 2009.

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What happened between Adam Peaty and Katya Jones?

On Saturday night (15 October), the couples’ routine ended with Katya leaning back into Peaty’s embrace - he towered over her as their chests touched before rising to their feet.

Katya stroked his head as the song came to a close, before Peaty moved even closer to her and this is when the apparent kiss took place.

However, upon rewatching the routine it is clear there is a slight space between the pair the entire time.

Fans raised questions about “did-they-didn’t-they” on Twitter, but Peaty shut them down the following day.

While he described the dance as his “favourite”, he also said he would not allow gossip to affect him.

He and his 23-year-old girlfriend, Eirianedd Munro share a one-year-old son together.

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