STRICTLY dancer Nadiya Bychkova has split from her footballer fiancé — and been comforted by fellow pro Kai Widdrington.
Nadiya, 32, has formed a ‘very strong’ friendship with Kai, 26[/caption]
During the last series, she confided in her show partner, TV host Dan Walker, after secretly breaking up with Matija Škarabot[/caption]
Nadiya secretly broke up with her footballer fiancé Matija[/caption]
Nadiya, 32, has since formed a “very strong” friendship with Kai, 26.
Last night a source said: “Nadiya and Kai have incredible chemistry, and a very strong friendship.
“Right from week one they connected, and are always laughing and messing about.
“Nadiya and Matija actually separated months ago and obviously Nadiya confided in Dan at the time.
“Just as she was a great comfort to him when he was upset one week, so he was a rock for her.
“Kai, meanwhile, has also been brilliant – and she confided in him throughout the series.
“He has cheered her up and made her smile again. They’re great mates, and lots of people backstage think they’d make a really cute couple when the time is right.
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“From Nadiya’s perspective, nothing much has really changed.
“She is still a loving co-parent with Matija, and continues to live her life to the full.”
Yesterday news of the split was revealed after it emerged Matija, 33, who plays for Slovenian club ND Primorje, had unfollowed his fiancée. In turn, Nadiya has not posted about him for almost seven months.
Nadiya, who was previously married for two years to Russian dancer Sergey Konovaltsev, has also stopped wearing her diamond engagement ring.
The pro, who made her debut on Strictly in 2017, struck up a close friendship with 6ft 6in Dan during the last series.
The duo were also firm favourites with Strictly viewers and got through to the BBC1 show’s quarter finals. However, rumours about the pair’s closeness started after the beauty was seen hugging the father of three backstage.
The heartbroken broadcaster had been crying after filming a tribute to his friend Gary Speed on the 10th anniversary of his death.
The former Football Focus presenter was the last person to interview the then-Wales manager.
Dan later told The Sun that Nadiya was simply offering him an innocent “emotional release” while they were stuck in the show’s Covid bubble.
He said: “There was only one person I was allowed to touch in the entire production that night and that was my partner. I needed somebody to give a hug to, and that was literally it.
“The rumours about us were . . . disappointing. I know these happen every year on Strictly, and there have been instances in the past of the so-called curse, and it’s just telly. But it’s just not nice.”
The split means Nadiya is the latest in a long line of Strictly competitors to see their relationship crumble. Following his 2013 stint on the show, retired rugby player Ben Cohen broke up with wife of 11 years Abby.
He then fell in love with dance partner Kristina Rihanoff and the couple have two kids.
Countdown star Rachel Riley split from husband of 15 months Jamie Gilbert during her time on Strictly in the same year. Months later she announced she was dating her dance partner Pasha Kovalev.
In 2017 ex-Eternal star Louise Redknapp and her football pundit hubby Jamie split, with the singer later admitting her time on Strictly was the catalyst.
Four years ago Katya Jones, married to fellow pro Neil, was seen snogging her dance partner, comic Seann Walsh, in pictures published by The Sun on Sunday.
Katya and Neil later split as did Seann and his partner Rebecca Humphries.
Documentary-maker Stacey Dooley also ended her relationship with personal trainer Sam Tucknott, and started dating pro dancer Kevin Clifton soon after.
Sam later branded Kevin a “slippery snake”.
Representatives for Nadiya and Kai were contacted for comment last night.
Kai pictured with celebrity dance partner AJ Odudu[/caption]
The split means Nadiya is the latest in a long line of Strictly competitors to see their relationship crumble[/caption]