Strictly star reveals how show puts ‘strain’ on marriage amid ‘curse’ claims

From Sambas to Paso Dobles, Strictly Come Dancing always enthrals the nation with it's annual run of Saturday night glamour. But it's not just the dance moves that gets everyone talking, it's also the infamous 'curse' the show is said to pose on celebrities' relationships.

Working in such close proximity to professional dancers for an extended period of time, the show has seen a number of stars split from their partners during, or shortly after, starring on the show.

Sharing her thoughts on the alleged curse, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, 44, who appeared on Strictly in 2013, admits that it can be tough on contestants' love lives – especially her own.

Being teamed up with dancer Brendan Cole during the series, Murder On The Dancefloor hitmaker Sophie managed to bag fourth place during her stint – but wasn't left best pleased with its impact on her home life.

Sophie is married to The Feeling musician Richard Jones, with the pair sharing five children after meeting over 20 years ago.

Speaking on daytime show Lorraine, ahead of the new series of Strictly returning next month, she admitted that the show put a strain on her marriage to Richard and caused a 'wobble' between them.

While speaking highly of her partner Brendan, Sophie acknowledged how difficult things were for her husband Richard, who even sought counselling for help.

Sophie said: "Brendan was brilliant, because right from day one his bit of advice was to involve my friends and my family.

"Whenever they could, they would come along, but it's a very intense experience and for Richard, he did struggle with it, which obviously, in turn, made me struggle. But he did get counselling and help and support, which allowed us both to enjoy it a lot more."

Pleading the show to introduce more mental help, she continued: "I suppose, Strictly has got so much about it that is glorious and joyful, but I think if they just had a little bit more of emotional support it would have definitely improved my experience."

It's not the first time that Sophie has discussed her husband's struggle with her being on the show, previously telling the Mail On Sunday that she even considered leaving the show before her first dance.

"Richard was feeling left out in the cold. He was worried he was losing me. Not that I was going to run off with anyone – he liked Brendan and knew that nothing was going to happen there – but I think he thought that something was awakening in me and he felt he wasn’t part of my future," explained the star.

Adding, "I never, ever felt like that, but I couldn’t convince him. He could see that I was completely wrapped up in the show and consumed with the intensity of it and the constant learning, learning, learning which you share with one other person – your dance partner."

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