Inside Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton’s love life before Strictly romance

Strictly fans were delighted when glitterball champions Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton announced the arrival of their gorgeous baby girl last month.

The loved-up couple first met when they were paired up on the hugely popular BBC One dance competition back in 2018 which the journalist and the professional dancer went on to win.

Just months after they lifted the coveted trophy, the future parents went on to announce their romance publicly.

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But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the couple, with the duo admitting to kissing a few frogs before they met their other half on the reality TV show.

As the loveable documentary maker celebrates her 36th birthday with a bang, Daily Star has taken a deep dive inside their previous relationships before they fell in love.

Let’s take a look …

Kevin’s love life

Kevin’s first marriage was to amateur Latin world champion Anna Melnikova, with the pair tying the knot in 2003 when he was just 20 years old.

The duo went on to become dance partners from 2002 to 2006, but unfortunately their romance wasn’t built to last after the went their separate ways in 2006.

At the time, Kevin claimed the pair split after he “fell out of love” with dancing when they were advised to stump up £10,000 to ‘guarantee’ a world champion title win.

He said: “I just felt somewhere it had all gone wrong. My parents believed we could win without it, but I wanted to walk away from the whole thing.

“I fell out of love with it. My wife divorced me because it was her life. I fell into depression because everything I'd put my life into had burst apart.”

But the star found love one year later after he wed trained ballet dancer Clare Craze in 2007 after they met at a London Salsa bar.

Following their wild romance, the pair went on to star in a dance show titled Burn The Floor back in 2009 where he met Karen Hauer – who would go on to become the next Mrs Clifton.

The duo eventually called time on their marriage in 2010, with the ballroom hunk later revealing in an interview that it was only one year later that he started dating Karen in 2011.

In 2012, the award-winning dancer joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing while he was working through a messy divorce with Clare.

Speaking at the time, he confessed: “I was never particularly happy in my previous marriage. I wasn’t myself – a lot of friends and family were telling me that.

“It was just a bit of a weird time. When I met Karen, I could get on with her on a completely different level.”

In 2013, their divorce was officially finalised, with Kevin later confessing: "It didn't work out. It was part of my rebellion and we drifted apart."

But that didn't put the hopeless romantic off finding love again after he fell into the arms of fellow Strictly professional Karen.

And Kevin wasted no time in locking down his relationship with Karen after he got down on one knee and popped the question in 2015 during a performance of Burn the Floor.

The pair later got hitched in 2015, but as fans of the show will know they divorced following his affair with Stacey in 2018.

However the former couple managed to make things work as friends, as they continued to dance together on the primetime BBC show until Kevin left in 2020.

Stacey’s love life

It’s fair to say Stacey’s love life was less turbulent than her thrice-married partner Kevin. Before she met her the ballroom dancer, the fiery redhead was in a five-year relationship with personal trainer Sam Tucknott.

The loyal gym buff was often spotted cheering Stacey on during her Strictly performances at Elstree Studios as the pair foxtrotted their way to victory in December 2018.

After the pair won the competition, Sam and Stacey ended their interview, with the exercise buff later branding Kevin a “slippery, slimy snake” in a bombshell interview.

It is understood Sam discovered the dancing duo were more than friends when he discovered an “I love you” text from Kevin to Stacey weeks after their split.

Addressing the media frenzy, Stacey wrote on Twitter: “Anyone with any adult life experience knows there are 2 sides to every story.

“I haven’t got the time or energy to correct some of the utter nonsense I've read on here. Re Sam, I loved him v much and only wish him happiness and success going forward.”

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Shortly after Sam’s explosive interview, Kevin and Stacey confirmed their romance, and clarified that she wouldn’t be getting into a “slagging match with Sam”.

She told You magazine: “I still really want what’s best for him. I just … fell like I've grown a lot. I feel so much more mature than I was then. I want him to have a brilliant life.”


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