These Real-Life 'Strictly Come Dancing' Couples Have Beaten The Show's "Curse" & Are Still Going Strong
As well as producing spectacular ballroom performances to millions of viewers week upon week, Strictly Come Dancing also produces a fair amount of romance. Throughout the BBC show's sixteen series, viewers have witnessed countless competing celebrities be paired up with professional peers — and, unsurprisingly, things can often get heated between the Strictly couples. However, many of the resident professional dancers, who do their very best to guide their amateur partners towards glitter ball victory, have actually coupled up beyond the show. And to jog your memory, I've gone ahead and made the ultimate list of all the real-life Strictly Come Dancing couples.
Over the years, fans of Strictly have developed a particular phrase to describe the relationship breakdowns that happen off screen during the show: "the Strictly curse." Speaking about "the Strictly curse," The Sun writes: "Due to the harsh schedules, sexy dance moves, and close quarters with their partners, their off-screen romances sometimes suffer as a result ... Over the course of fifteen series of the BBC favourite, nearly a dozen couples have split up thanks to their time on the show."
However, the couples below seem to have bucked the trend, and are still going strong to this very day. Dancing duos such as James and Ola Jordan and Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova have enjoyed years of married life, and some have since gone on to have children together. Although not all these romances have come away from the show unscathed, they've still managed to survive the dreaded "curse," and I, for one, think that's pretty impressive.
Ola and James Jordan
Since leaving the BBC series, both Ola and James Jordan have continued to enjoy married life and recently celebrated their 15-year wedding anniversary, Hello reports. James, who is currently starring in ITV's Dancing on Ice, parted ways with Strictly back in 2014 after eight years on the show — and Ola quickly followed suit, announcing her decision to quit the following year. Despite living in the spotlight, the Jordan's appear to be as strong as ever, and when speaking to the Irish Mirror, Ola said: "We've been together 17 years and married for 13. It's a long time. We're best friends and we like spending time together."
Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova
This Strictly pair have been married for almost two decades, and their success on the show is the stuff of legend. Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova appeared in six series of Strictly — and have won seven glitter ball trophies between them, Hello reports. The couple are also parents to four-year-old daughter Valentina Rose. After leaving the hit series, Bennett opened up to the Guardian about his relationship with Kopylova, saying: "Still, after twelve years of dancing together, we've cracked a policy about work: as soon as the shoes come off, we leave the studio and go for dinner."
Katya and Neil Jones
The 2018 series of Strictly once again welcomed married professional dancers, Neil and Katya Jones. The pair dated for five years before tying the knot in August 2013, Hello reports. However, Katya found herself at the centre of a controversy during last year's series, after a kiss shared between her and dancing partner, Seann Walsh, was caught on camera. Despite the tabloid storm, Neil and Katya remain strong, and last August she took to Instagram to show her husband support following the news he would be returning to Strictly as a backing dancer. The caption read: "One more from the red carpet. Just because I love this photo of me and @mr_njonesofficial. He might not have a partner again this year, but I can't thank him enough for being there for me for the third year in a row."
Graziano Di Prima and Giada Lini
Graziano Di Prima joined Strictly in 2018 when he was partnered up with TV and radio presenter Vick Hope. The professional is currently in a relationship with Italian Strictly dancer Giada Lini, who joined the hit BBC series the same year as Prima. According to the couple's Instagram accounts, they first began dating back in 2015, and, in an interview with Hello, Prima revealed that his girlfriend would be joining him for some of the show's special routines. He said: "She's so excited by this new adventure, too. We both are. And it was so good meeting the judges. Bruno told me how pleased he was to have a fellow Italian on the show."
Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara
Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara were a big hit with Strictly viewers during their time on the dance-competition show. As of 2018, the pair had been together for seven years, and became engaged in 2015, before marrying two years later. Aljaz has previously said that there is no "jealousy" between them, and when speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: "We don't get jealous of each other's bond with celebrity partners because we understand that dancing can be emotional, but we also know how well suited and in love we are."