Craig Revel Horwood suggests Strictly curse could be a blessing for contestants in ‘loveless marriages’

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has suggested the BBC show’s infamous, so-called curse is actually a “blessing” because it gets celebrity contestants “out of loveless marriages”.

The “Strictly curse” is rooted in the notion that participating on the TV series as a contestant or pro dancer inevitably spells doom for the relationship they are in at the time.

Notable examples include Louise Redknapp, who separated from her ex-footballer husband Jamie shortly after appearing on the BBC show, as well as Countdown presenter Rachel Riley, who split from her husband and married her dance partner Pasha Kovalev after competing on the 2013 series.

In a new interview with Mail Online, Horwood, 59, reportedly said the Strictly curse could turn into a blessing if “it gets people out of loveless marriages and into something fabulous” instead, adding these relationships can potentially “end in marriage, end in children”.

He also reportedly commented on Strictly winners Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola’s rumoured romance, telling them to “go for it” and “have a bit of fun”.


“Vito’s sort of hot property, isn’t he? A lot of people wouldn’t mind. Well, I say, go for it. Bring it on. Why not? If you’re single, why not have a bit of fun, darling?” the British-Australian dancer and choreographer said. “And look, it can end in marriage, it could end in children, we have a lot of Strictly babies…

“And this curse they talk about I think is a blessing. It gets people out of loveless marriages and into something fabulous,” Horwood added.

“The whole point of the Strictly curse is the marriage or whoever you’re with must have been on the rocks in the first place for anything to occur.

“Nothing to lose… all to gain,” he added.

In addition to Redknapp and Riley, other “cursed” contestants include comedian Seann Walsh, who was photographed kissing his dance partner Katya Jones despite being in a relationship, and boxer Joe Calzaghe, who broke up with his girlfriend of five years to get together with Kristina Rihanoff.

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola (PA)
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola (PA)

Rihanoff and Calzaghe’s four-year relationship ended when she found love with her rugby player dance partner Ben Cohen during the 2013 series.

They have one child together.

“People do meet at work and that’s where we work,” Rihanoff said in 2019. “[Strictly] is very intense, emotionally and physically.”

Coronation Street actor Georgia May Foote slammed the tabloid rumours that she was romantically involved with Giovanni Pernice as “stupid” and “quite offensive” after they were paired together during the show’s 2015 season.

Shortly after, Foote broke up with her boyfriend and began dating Pernice, with the couple moving n together. They split up within the year.