Ben Cohen's ex-wife Abby has revealed that the infamous 'Strictly curse' did her a "favour" despite her marriage falling apart after the show.
Former rugby player Ben starred on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2013 when he was still married to Abby, and he was paired up with professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff.
Ben and Abby were childhood sweethearts and had enjoyed a 23-year-long relationship, sharing their twin daughters Hariette and Isabelle.
However, Abby's marriage fell victim to the 'Strictly curse' when he competed on the hit BBC One show as the sportsman ended up leaving Abby for his professional partner.
Ben told Abby he was leaving her in September 2014 and him and Kristina went public with their own romance soon after.
Kristina had insisted that her and Ben didn't begin dating until Ben's marriage had ended.
Speaking out on the decline of her marriage, Abby confessed she can't listen to the Strictly theme tune as it conjures up painful memories of watching her marriage "disintegrate" before her eyes.
The mother-of-two wrote about her long-term romance with Ben in an article for New! magazine, explaining that he'd jumped at the chance to star on Strictly as he wanted to take his career "in a different direction".
However, the mother-of-three said she now regrets the decision as "strictly, showbiz and all the sequins" caused the breakdown of her marriage.
Abby attended the live Strictly shows where she was seen cheering on her ex-husband, but the mum admitted she felt "terrified" as she watched the athlete perform saucy dance routines with Kristina.
Looking back at herself during Ben's Strictly stint, Abby said she didn't recognise the "frightened woman" sitting in the audience, but admitted the show "did me a favour in the long run".
Ben and Kristina were booted off the show after eight weeks after losing the public vote.
Abby revealed she was left fighting for her marriage "for months" following his departure from the show as they were "growing in different directions".
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Tragically, Abby suffered two breakdowns after Ben told her she was leaving her in September 2014.
She recalled: "I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I often couldn’t get out of bed,” she recalled, adding that she also had debilitating panic attacks that left her lying on the floor sweating."
Abby was left heart-broken again when Ben and Kristina announced they had welcomed a daughter, Mila, into the world.
The mum had begun to feel better since she moved out of her old family home, taking her daughters with her.
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However, Abby has become much happier since her marriage with Ben and has been able to "break the cycle of obsessing over what had happened".
She has been pursuing photography and has even bagged a co-hosting job on the Amazon Prime show The Updaters.
Abby said: "Ben doesn’t really know the person I’ve become – but I prefer her! I’m happier in my own skin and I’m not the broken girl who used to be married to a famous rugby player."
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