'Strictly' curse: Ben Cohen's ex-wife regrets publicly insulting Kristina Rihanoff

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 23:  Ben and Abby Cohen   during the International Rugby Board Awards at Wharf 8 November 23, 2003 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Dave Rogers/Getty Images)
Ben Cohen with ex-wife Abby in 2003. (Getty Images)

Ben Cohen's ex-wife has admitted she regrets publicly lashing out at his Strictly Come Dancing partner Kristina Rihanoff.

The former rugby player was married to Abby Blayney – mother to his twin daughters – when he took part in the BBC dance contest in 2013, and fell victim to "the Strictly Curse" when he and Rihanoff fell for one another.

Blayney, 42, told New magazine: "At the time of the break-up, when hugely stressed, I once angrily referred to Ben's partner as a 'f**king Russian dancer' to a journalist hassling me. I regret that now.

Watch: Who's judging this year's Strictly?

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rhianoff met when they were paired on 'Strictly Come Dancing' and now have a daughter together. (PA)
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff met when they were paired on Strictly Come Dancing and now have a daughter together. (PA)

"I'm happier in my own skin and I'm not that broken girl who used to be married to a famous rugby player."

Read more: Kristina Rihanoff says marriage to Ben Cohen is on the cards

Cohen, 43, lives nearby to Blayney and co-parents their twins, along with his five-year-old daughter Milena who he shares with partner Rihanoff, 43.

Blayney said: "When we hand over the kids I sometimes see a little of the old Ben and it makes me feel sad, but I breathe deeply and get on with my day."

The photographer has previously said she regretted spending so many years being upset after her marriage split up.

She told the Daily Mail: "My whole world fell apart when Ben made the decision to end our marriage. It's like a bus has hit you. I was broken – completely broken.

"One moment you're a family unit, the next you not only lose your husband but your children when they're with their dad.

Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff at the NTAs 2021 (Getty Images)
Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff at the NTAs 2021. (Getty Images)

"Once I began to accept that I couldn't change things, I started to feel better and the sun came out."

Cohen and Blayney divorced in 2016.

Read more: The 'Strictly' Curse: What is it and who's been hit by it?

Rihanoff told Hello magazine in 2019: “(Marriage) will probably be in a couple of years. Hopefully we'll gather the family around and it'll happen."

Watch: Strictly's first deaf contestant hopes to challenge stereotypes

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