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BBC One Blankety Blank: Rachel Riley denies ‘Strictly curse’ led to her divorce from millionaire husband

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Rachel Riley is best known for her letters and numbers rounds, but eight years ago she swapped out vowels for the Viennese waltz as she entered Strictly Come Dancing.

The Countdown host said her stint on the show left her ‘needing therapy’ and she now ‘avoids’ watching the show at all costs.

But did the ‘Strictly curse’ lead to her divorce from her millionaire husband, or was it something else?

READ MORE: BBC Strictly Come Dancing: The couples broken up by the ‘Strictly curse’ including EastEnders star

The Countdown star didn’t last long on the BBC dance show after being eliminated in week six of the 2013 series.

But instead she won herself a new boyfriend in the form of her professional partner and fan favourite Pasha Kovalev.

Rachel Riley and pro partner turned husband Pasha Kovalev welcomed baby Maven Aria into the world in June 2019

Before the show, Rachel was married to millionaire Jamie Gilbert who she met while studying at the University of Oxford when she was still a teenager.

The couple denied rumours of anything going on, but soon after the show Riley split with her husband after just a year of marriage.

Six years later in 2019, the Riley and Kovalev married in Las Vegas and have since given birth to their first child, Maven Aria.

But in an interview with GQ magazine, when quizzed as to whether the ‘Strictly curse’ was the reason for her marriage breakdown, Riley said: “No. I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He’s great, he’s a brilliant guy.

Riley said that her stint on the show left her needing therapy

Riley said that her stint on the show left her needing therapy

“We were together since I was 19 and it wasn’t right.”

In a separate interview with the Express, the 35-year-old admitted that the show left her needing cognitive behavioural therapy – and that she now ‘avoids’ the show at all costs.

She revealed: “But I love dancing; when Pasha and I go on holiday we always find a salsa club whether we were in Indonesia or LA or Cannes, wherever we were in the world.”

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She added: “It’s really great and when we’ve been on holiday with our mums he’s like spinning them around and they love it as well.

“He gets very good brownie points.”

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