Entertainment

Strictly’s Kevin and Karen Clifton confirm split

Karen and Kevin Clifton pictured in August 2017Image copyright PA
Image caption Karen and Kevin Clifton at the launch of last year’s Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing’s Kevin and Karen Clifton have confirmed they have split, after three years of marriage.

The dancers, who have made the final of the BBC One show five times between them, stressed they would continue their professional partnership.

Revealing the news on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Kevin said they were still “the best of friends”.

The pair, who go on tour together later this year, said they wanted the news in the open after recent speculation.

Strictly's Kevin and Karen Clifton confirm split

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Media captionKaren and Kevin Clifton speak about their relationship

Kevin – known affectionately on Strictly as “Kevin from Grimsby” – told Evans: “We’ve always felt the best thing is to be honest with everyone and upfront and respectful to our fans.

“So we just wanted to do this now and let everyone know that actually, privately we’re not together any more.

“But professionally, we’re stronger than ever.”

‘Dance is glue that held us together’

There had been months of speculation that the couple, who married in 2015, were no longer together.

Kevin added: “Dance is how we came together and is the glue that’s held us together for years now. We’re still the best of friends.

“We’ve got a lot of love and respect for each other – I still pretty much see Karen every day.”

She joked that he would “never get rid of me”.

Karen joined Strictly in 2012, dancing with Westlife’s Nicky Byrne – a year before Kevin, whose sister Joanne has also been a professional dancer on the show.

They had both taken part in the most recent series of the dancing competition – Kevin partnered with Scottish comedian Susan Calman and Karen with Sunday Brunch’s Simon Rimmer.

Kevin said being “honest with each other” had “unlocked this new wealth of creativity”.

Karen added: “We’ve such great chemistry… we love dancing together so much.

“We’re feeling very positive and we’re feeling this is going to be one of the best tours.”

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