Strictly professional exits: From tragic split to exhaustion – where are they now?

Strictly: John Whaite says he was ‘scared’ before live show

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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is on BBC One and the celebrities have now been matched with their professional partners. The new season welcomed four new professionals – Kai Widdrington, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard and Jowita Przystal. The glitzy competition has seen some of the pro dancers move on to pastures new, and has all you need to know.

Where are the former Strictly professionals now?

Brendan Cole

Brendan was on the series for 13 years between 2004 and 2017. He won the first series with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

Since leaving the dance competition, he went on to star on X Factor: Celebrity along with former Hollyoaks star Jeremy Edwards.

The 45-year-old now lives in Mallorca with his wife and two children – Aurelia and Danté.

Aliona Vilani

Aliona was one of the Strictly professionals between 2009 and 2015 and she was the first female pro to score two wins, ahead of Oti Mabuse.

She won with McFly’s Harry Judd in 2011 and his bandmate Tom Fletcher is taking part in the 2021 series.

The 37-year-old lives in Florida, and she is married with a daughter.

Pasha Kovalev

Pasha was a part of the series for seven years between 2011 and 2018 when he said he was keen to find a new challenge.

The 41-year-old went on to marry former dance partner Rachel Riley in 2019 and they had a daughter together.

They tied the knot in Las Vegas and have a second baby on the way.

Camilla Dallerup

Camilla was a professional dancer from 2004 to 2008 and she was Brendan Cole’s ex.

She chose not to come back to the series after splitting from Brendan.

The star went on to take part in the 2009 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! but she quit due to exhaustion.

The dancer has since become a life coach, author and hypnotherapist and she is married to former Hollyoaks star Kevin Sacre.

Kristina Rihanoff

Kristina was on the series from 2008 to 2015 and she left so she could start a family.

She now has a daughter with her celebrity partner Ben Cohen and she is also a yoga teacher.

In 2016 she appeared on Celebrity Big Brother.

Artem Chigvintsev

Artem was a Strictly professional for three years, from 2010 until 2013.

He ended up dating his celebrity partner Katra Tointon for three years.

Artem went on to join Dancing With The Stars and he became a champion of the series.

He is engaged to Nikki Bella and they have a baby boy together.

Erin Boag

Erin spent eight years on the show and she was Anton Du Beke’s professional partner outside of the show.

They still perform together and have been doing so since 1997.

Erin left the show so she could have a child with partner Peter O’Dowd.

Vincent Simone

Vincent was on the series for six years and he went on to feature on I’m A Celebrity.

The 42-year-old still takes part in dance shows and married Susan Duddy in 2015.

Ian Waite

Ian was a professional dancer for five years between 2004 and 2009.

He has since become known for starring alongside Zoe Ball on the Strictly spin-off, It Takes Two.

However, he announced he would be leaving the talk show at the same time as his co-host.

Ian is now focusing on his fitness company called FitSteps, and he is married to Drew Merriman.

Kevin Clifton

Kevin was a fan-favourite on the series until he left in 2019, and he won the year prior with Stacey Dooley.

The pair are now officially together and he has launched his own podcast.

He also runs a property investment company and will be touring with Craig Revel Horwood in Strictly Ballroom.

Flavia Cacace

Flavia was a professional on the show for six years and she was in a relationship with Vincent Simone.

She went on to date her celebrity partner Matt Di Angelo, before marrying Corrie partner Jimi Mistry.

She has since qualified as a personal trainer and runs a fitness company with her husband.

They have stepped away from the spotlight to manage a farm in Devon.

AJ Pritchard

AJ was one of the newest professional dancers as he appeared from 2016 until 2019.

He left to kickstart his presenting career with his brother Curtis, and they appeared in Hollyoaks together.

The 26-year-old took part in I’m A Celebrity, and he later hit headlines after his girlfriend Abbie Quinnen suffered burns following a TikTok stunt that went badly.

Karen Hardy

Karen featured on the show for three years and she won the series with cricketer Mark Ramprakash.

She left to launch her own dance studio and went on to appear on It Takes Two.

She is married to professional dancer Conrad Murray and they have two children together.

Natalie Lowe

Natalie starred in the series from 2009 until 2016 and she left to launch fitness brand FitSteps with Ian Waite.

She married James Knibbs and had a baby boy in December 2019.

The star, who has since moved back to Australia, spoke out about suffering two miscarriages before the birth of son Jack.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 airs on BBC One on Saturdays.

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