Kevin Clifton has broken his silence about his romance with Stacey Dooley, as he paid a gushing tribute to her during the opening night of his Burn The Floor show.
According to a report from The Mirror on Friday, the professional dancer, 36, addressed his relationship with the presenter, 32, while he was on stage.
Speaking to the audience, he said: ‘In the last couple of years I’ve seen massive upheaval in my personal life and it hasn’t always been easy.
Candid: Kevin Clifton BROKE his silence on Stacey Dooley romance on Friday, as he praised the presenter in a gushing tribute… but said attention on his relationships has been ‘difficult’ to deal with (pictured in December 2018)
‘There have been a lot of things thrown at me. At times I’ve struggled. And the times I’ve struggled and I was in a bit of a rut I didn’t know what to do.’
Adding that he isn’t ‘the best at dealing with’ negative publicity about his personal life and finds it ‘difficult’, the Strictly pro said it was thanks to producers of his dancing tour that he could be brought back to a place where things ‘felt right’ again.
As he held the Glitterball trophy they won together, Kevin then went on to say of his new love: ‘And thanks to Miss Stacey Dooley, I can finally say I’m the Strictly champion after six years of trying. It’s a miracle.’
MailOnline have contacted representatives of Kevin and Stacey for comment.
Gushing: Addressing the audience, Kevin said of new love: ‘And thanks to Miss Stacey Dooley, I can finally say I’m the Strictly champion after six years of trying. It’s a miracle’
Giving it a like: While he has been busy on tour, Stacey showed her support from a distance by liking his latest Instagram post from his tour
While he has been busy on tour, Stacey showed her support from a distance by liking his latest Instagram post from his tour.
The dancer’s performance comes as it was reported by The Sun that Stacey has been urged by friends to steer clear of him in order to protect her career.
A source told the publication: ‘Stacey has plenty of work on at the moment and her agents don’t want that to be effected in the wake of the scandal.
‘They’ve quietly suggested that the recent stories could be bad for her image and hope that she will listen to the advice.
‘Stacey does what she wants at the end of the day but they think it’s best if she keeps a low profile and that means staying away from Kevin for now.’
Honest: Adding that he isn’t ‘the best at dealing with’ negative publicity about his personal life, the Strictly pro said it was thanks to his dancing tour that things ‘felt right’ again
Romance: It’s been rumoured that Stacey and Kevin have been enjoying a secret romance for months, with photos emerging of the pair heading into the same Birmingham hotel in January
It’s been rumoured that Stacey and Kevin have been enjoying a secret romance for months, with photos emerging of the pair heading into the same Birmingham hotel in January.
Kevin was previously married to Karen Clifton, who he split from a year ago after three years of marriage but have remained close friends.
While Stacey’s ex-boyfriend Sam Tucknott, 30, revealed the TV personality called time on their five-year relationship and entered into a romance with thrice-married Kevin in an explosive interview with the Mail On Sunday this weekend.
Stacey took to Twitter on Monday to insist there ‘are two sides to every story’ after her ex Sam Tucknott branded Kevin ‘a rat’.
The TV presenter, 32, wrote: ‘Anyone with any adult life experience knows there are 2 sides to every story. I haven’t got the time or energy to correct some of the utter nonsense I’ve read on here.
‘Re Sam, I loved him v much and only wish him happiness and success going forward.’
Loved-up: The January meet-up came weeks before Stacey announced she had split from her long-term beau Sam, after five years together
Former flame: Stacey ex-boyfriend Sam Tucknott told The Mail On Sunday that Stacey dumped him to enter a relationship with Kevin
Stacey had broken her silence over the matter the day before, as she liked a tweet about forgiveness.
Fresh claims on Tuesday suggest the BBC documentary maker broke up with boyfriend of five years for the professional dancer in order to ‘better her career’.
Weeks after picking up the Glitterball trophy with Kevin in December, Stacey took part in the Strictly tour, but was separated from her partner who ruled himself out of the live shows to concentrate on his own Burn The Floor tour.
Despite his hectic work schedule Kevin made the long trip to Birmingham to show his support for Stacey on tour, cheering her on as she danced with Aljaz Skorjanec.
Kevin, whose relationship with Stacey was said to be an ‘open secret’ during the tour, was seen later that night heading into a five star hotel in the city, while Stacey, and the rest of the tour cast, followed close behind.
Making time for each other: Despite his hectic work schedule Kevin made the long trip to Birmingham to show his support for Stacey on tour
As a Strictly insider said to The Mirror: ‘There was no reason for Kevin to slog all the way to Birmingham to see her perform. The fact he did speaks volumes about where they were in their relationship.’
The January meet-up came weeks before Stacey announced she had split from her long-term beau Sam, after five years together.
Sam himself admitted in an interview with the Mail On Sunday though, that their relationship was under strain late last year as Stacey spent 14 hours a day training with Kevin for their Strictly win.
Insiders have claimed that Stacey, known for her hard-hitting BBC Three documentaries, ‘dumped’ Sam for Kevin as he was ‘better for her image’.
Split: Kevin was previously married to Karen Clifton (pictured in August 2017), who he split from a year ago after three years of marriage but have remained close friends
According to the report friends of Stacey had warned her that her blossoming career on the back of Strictly could be stalled if she continued in her relationship with the personal trainer.
A source said: ‘Getting on Strictly made Stacey a household name but winning was her breakthrough. The team around her had been preparing to propel her into the mainstream spotlight. They felt Sam could hold Stacey back.’
While Sam supported Stacey during both the Strictly live shows, memorably leaping from his seat at her win with Kevin, and the tour, behind the scenes insiders were worried how he was affecting Stacey’s image.
A source added to The Sun: ‘Sam turned up to the studios in a tracksuit a couple of times and there were raised eyebrows.
‘Stacey’s team want her with someone sharp and shiny. Kevin has charisma, he’s a household name and he’s well liked. Stacey knows that too — as well as falling for him, she knows Kevin will help lift her.’
Champions: Kevin, whose relationship with Stacey was said to be an ‘open secret’ during the tour, won the Glitterball trophy alongside his dance partner