Where ex-Strictly pros are now – ‘homeless’, show ‘curse’ and major career swap

Strictly Come Dancing has become a staple in UK houses since it first launched nearly two decades ago.

First hitting the silver screen in 2004 with Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly at the helm, the BBC dance competition quickly became one of the most beloved shows in the country.

Alongside the presenters and judges, the Strictly professionals have always been at the centre of the action.

READ MORE: Strictly's Anton du Beke teases secret Shirley Ballas romance with 'rumour' joke

The pros have come and gone over the years, so Daily Star has looked at what some of the original stars are up to now, from the first "curse" victim to "homeless at Christmas".

James and Ola Jordan

Married couple James and Ola Jordan joined Strictly in 2006 and went on to become amongst the longest-serving professionals.

James, 44, left the programme in 2013 while Ola followed in his footsteps two years later, departed in 2015 after nearly a decade on the show.

Since leaving hanging up their Strictly shoes, the dancing duo have appeared on several reality shows.

The British-Polish ballroom dancer took part in The Jump in 2015 where she sustained a serious leg injury which she revealed would "never be the same" after surgery.

The 40-year-old also took a trip down under and appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! in 2016.

Meanwhile one year after ditching the ballroom, James appeared on Celebrity Big Brother where he finished as a finalist.

In 2019, he took part in the eleventh series of Dancing on Ice and went on to be crowned champion alongside Alexandra Schauman.

James and Ola, who have been married since 2003, share two-year-old daughter Ella.

The couple recently received some bad news, admitting they are "homeless for Christmas" after a rude interaction with a landlord.

Pasha Kovalev

Russian ballroom dancer Pasha Kovalev joined Strictly in 2011 and remained there for "eight fantastic years" before leaving to find new challenges.

The 42-year-old holds several records from his time on the show, including the highest average score and scoring the most 40s with partner Ashley Roberts whom he finished in second place with in 2018.

In 2013, he was paired with Countdown star Rachel Riley who he eventually went on to marry six years later.

The pair share two daughters, Maven and Noa.

Camilla Dallerup

Danish dancer Camilla Dallerup was one of the stars who appeared on the very first series of Strictly.

The 47-year-old was partnered with David Dickinson but unfortunately didn't last long as they were second voted out.

Camilla's professional dance partner on the show was fiancé Brendan Cole, however, their relationship broke down after affair rumours plagued Brendan and his season one partner, making Camilla the first victim of the "Strictly curse."

She went on to win the show in 2008 with Holby City actor Tom Chambers, after which she hung up her dancing shoes.

After leaving the programme, the blonde beauty founded founded her own life coaching and mindful living business.

The former ballroom dancer is now an author life coach, hypnotherapist and meditation teacher.

After meeting on BBC Two reality show The Underdogs, Camilla went on to marry former Hollyoaks actor Kevin Sacre in 2010.

Brendan Cole

Alongside his then fiancée, Brendan Cole also starred in the first series of Strictly, remaining on the show for 13 years.

The New Zealand-born star was partnered with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and the pair were crowned champions of the first season.

Speaking about what occurred between him and Natasha, Brendan told John Bishop during a candid interview: "I didn’t have an affair. Camilla chose to leave. Once you do something, after that it’s not an affair."

The 46-year-old is now happily married to Zoe Hobbs and the pair have two children.

Brendan has taken part in various shows outside of Strictly, appearing on Love Island in 2006, Celebrity SAS and The X Factor: Celebrity in 2019.

He also appeared on last year's series of Dancing on Ice, finishing in second place with partner Vanessa Bauer behind Regan Gascoigne and Karina Manta.

Kristina Rihanoff

Russian dancer Kristina Rihanoff competed as a Strictly professional for the first time in 2008 and remained there for seven years.

During her first stint, the 45-year and was paired with political broadcaster and author John Sergeant, finishing in seventh place.

In 2013, Kristina was partnered with Ben Cohen who at the time, was married to and shared twin daughters with his childhood sweetheart Abby Blayney.

Their marriage was another hit with the curse after the former rugby player left his wife and pursued a relationship with Kristina.

The pair are still together and share daughter Milena who was born in 2016.

Since leaving Strictly in 2015, Kristina went on to star in Celebrity Big Brother and now works as a yoga teacher.

Kevin Clifton

Kevin Clifton, 40, was an instant hit with fans when he joined the cast of Strictly during in 2013, going on to enjoy a six year stint.

He had previously auditioned for the show with Karen Hauer, whom he went on to marry, but was instead employed as a choreographer as they were only looking for a female dancer at the time.

After three years of marriage, the pair confirmed they were no longer together in 2018.

One year after winning the show with Stacey Dooley, Kevin announced in 2019 he was leaving Strictly to focus on other areas of his career.

The same year, Kevin confirmed his was in a relationship with the 35-year-old and announced in August 2022 that they were expecting their first child together.

Kevin recently landed his "dream role" in Strictly Ballroom: The Musical alongside EastEnders actress Maisie Smith which kicked off in September and has judge Craig Revel Horwood as director.

Aliona Vilani

Russian-Kazakh ballroom champion Aliona Vilani joined Strictly in 2009 and remained on the show for six years, making history in the process as one of the most successful professionals.

Alongside Oti Mabuse, the 37-year-old is the only pro to be crowned champion twice, winning with Mcfly's Harry Judd in 2011 and The Wanted star Jay McGuiness in 2015.

Aliona announced her departure from the BBC programme just days after winning with Jay, having reportedly left because she wanted to star a family.

The TV personality now resides in Floria with her husband, Vincent Kavanagh and their daughter Bella who was born in 2017.

Vincent Simone

World tango champion Vincent Simone first appeared on Strictly in 2006 alongside Flavia Cacace who he dated for 11 years.

Their relationship ended shortly after season five kicked off in 2007, with Flavia then embarking on a three-year relationship with her then Strictly partner Matt Di Angelo.

Despite their split, the couple remained close and in 2013, both decided it was time to hang up their Strictly shoes for good.

Vincent, 43, recently revealed the true reason behind his departure, telling Express in August: "I was lucky enough that this big West End producer came and offered myself and Flavia, one of the theatres in the middle of London and we just took the opportunity, to be honest."

The same year he left Strictly, Vincent headed to the jungle and appeared on I’m A Celebrity.

In 2021, the Italian star announced that he had split up with wife of six years Susan Duddy, with whom he shares two sons, after his career put "big strain" on their marriage.

Vincent's dance tour Tango Passions kicked off in October and continues until April 2023, starring Argentine Tango specialist Paula Duarte as his leading lady.

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