Rachel Riley baby: name of Countdown host’s new child, and who is husband and Strictly partner Pasha Kovalev?

The Countdown host and the Strictly Come Dancing professional met in 2013 when they were paired up for the dancing competition

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Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley has welcomed her and husband Pasha Kovalev’s second daughter into the world, 15 days after the due date.

Riley made the announcement on social media, and gave her thanks to the midwives and doula who assisted her during the home birth.

When did she give birth?

Riley announced on Twitter that her daughter arrived 15 days after her due date to “the sound of fireworks”, born on 5 November.

She wrote: “We have some news! Introducing @PashaKovalev’s newest dance partner - baby Noa was finally born, 15 days after her due date, late on Friday night to the sound of fireworks!

“She’s totally adorable and her big sister Maven has already tried welcoming her to the world by offering Oatly and pickles, we think that’s a good sign.

“Massive thanks to the wonderful home birth midwives team and my doula who looked after us all so well.”

The official Countdown Twitter account retweeted Riley’s post, and added: “Huge congratulations to @RachelRileyRR & @PashaKovalev on the birth of their gorgeous baby girl, we cannot wait to meet her!

“Lots of love from the whole Countdown family.”

The maths whizz followed up in another tweet, jokingly comparing her newborn to that of Norwegian professional football manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

She wrote: “PS Is it just me or does she look a bit like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer here?

“Guess they didn’t call him the baby-faced assassin for nothing!”

What’s a rainbow baby?

On Instagram, Riley also shared a picture of herself, baby Noa and Kovalev and added at the end of the announcement in the caption: “Ps thanks too to my namesake @rachelrileyuk for the lovely rainbow baby clothes for our gorgeous rainbow baby.

“Our family feels complete now she’s here.”

Noa is Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev’s second daughter (Photo: @rachelrileyrr)Noa is Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev’s second daughter (Photo: @rachelrileyrr)
Noa is Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev’s second daughter (Photo: @rachelrileyrr)

A rainbow baby refers to a baby that has been born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

According to Healthline, the name rainbow baby comes from “the idea of a rainbow appearing in the sky after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time”.

The term has grown in use over the past few years, and has come to symbolise hope and healing.

In an interview with OK, Riley revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage between the birth of her first and second daughter.

She said: “I had a miscarriage between the two pregnancies, as have many of my friends, so you can’t count your chickens.

“Thankfully, I seem to get pregnant easily, which I don’t take for granted.”

What does the name Noa mean?

According to baby name site Name Berry, Noa is a name of Hebrew origins, and means “motion”.

It’s believed to be derived from the Hebrew No’ah, and is popular in locations like Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Name Berry says: “[Noa] may be misunderstood here as an attempt to streamline and feminize the more familiar Noah - although it’s a separate name with a separate derivation.

“There is a female figure in the Old Testament named Noa or Noah, whose name derives from the Hebrew No’ah, meaning "motion".

“The popular Biblical male name Noah (sometimes spelled as the streamlined Noa) is derived from a different Hebrew name: Noach "rest, repose" – although confusingly they are often written the same in English.”

Who is Pasha Kovalev?

Kovalev is a Russian professional dancer, best known for his time as a professional on Strictly Come Dancing.

He first started dancing at the age of eight and in 2001, he moved to the US with his dance partner Anya Garnis. In 2007, the pair competed in the third season of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance? . Since then, they have appeared in the following eight seasons as either choreographers or partners to contestants.

Kovalev made the move to the UK in 2011, which is when he first appeared on the BBC competition Strictly Come Dancing. He won his first season of the show in series 12, with celebrity partner Caroline Flack.

In 2018, he announced that he would be leaving the show after “eight fantastic years”.

On Twitter, he said that it was time for him to “find a new challenge”.

How did Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev meet?

Riley and Kovalev met when she was signed on to compete in the 2013 season of Strictly Come Dancing, where she was paired up with the Russian professional dancer.

When Riley appeared on the show, she had been married to Jamie Gilbert, who she met whilst they were both studying at the University of Oxford. They married in August 2012 - however, just over a year later in November 2013, the couple announced that they were separating.

Riley began dating dance partner Kovalev shortly after her season of Strictly Come Dancing wrapped in December 2013.

Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev at the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2016 (Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

At the time, Riley said that Kovalev was not the reason for her split with Gilbert, a theory known as “the Strictly curse”, which refers to the various breakups and affairs experienced by those competing in the dancing competition.

One couple famously struck by the Strictly curse were professional dancers Neil and Katya Jones who split after it was revealed that Kayta had cheated on Neil with her celebrity dance partner Seann Walsh during the 2018 series.

When asked if Strictly had caused her breakup, Riley said: “No. I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He’s great, he’s a brilliant guy."

She added: "We were together since I was 19 and it wasn’t right… What Strictly did give me was distance - because I was away from home in Birmingham, Salford, Borehamwood.

“It was the emotional distance that I needed to break away.”

In May 2019, Kovalev and Riley announced that she was pregnant with their first child, Maven, whom Riley gave birth to on 15 December 2019.

Prior to the birth of their first child, Riley and Kovalev got married in Las Vegas, on 28 June 2019.

The pair announced that they were expecting once again in April earlier this year.

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