Professional dancer Kevin Clifton reportedly quit the BBC 's Strictly Come Dancing in a bid to "safeguard" his relationship with Stacey Dooley.
The 37-year-old announced this week that he is quitting the show after seven years and just two years after he won it with now girlfriend presenter Stacey.
According to The Sunday Mirror, show insiders suspect that Stacey did not like the thought of Kevin being on the show and being paired up with another celeb when she "knows how intense it can get".
Over the years, Kevin has danced with a number of stunning women including Louise Redknapp before she split from footballer Jamie Redknapp, Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid and The Saturday's singer Frankie Bridge.
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A source told the publication: "Stacey knows how intense things can get for contestants.
"After all, she’s been there herself."
They added: "Kevin was bitterly disappointed to get knocked out early last year after being lumbered with Anneka Rice, who was seen as the joke act.
"He thought it may have been punishment for the negative press caused over his romance with Stacey.
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"Things with Stacey have grown very serious. Kevin doesn’t want anything to ruin their relationship – or his reputation as a dancer."
Announcing his decision to quit, the Grimsby lad told his 250,000 Twitter followers: "The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life.
"I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special."
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He went on: "Since first being called 'Kevin from Grimsby' by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of five finals, winning a Guinness World Record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley.
"After finishing last series with the Children In Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career."
Daily Star Online has contacted representatives for Kevin and Stacey to comment.
- Strictly Come Dancing
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