Who is Arlene Phillips, how old is she, is she married and why did she leave Strictly Come Dancing?

21 November 2021, 20:00

Everything you need to know about Arlene Phillips as she enters the I'm A Celebrity castle
Everything you need to know about Arlene Phillips as she enters the I'm A Celebrity castle. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Arlene Phillips is among the stars taking part in this year's I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here, here's everything you need to know about the former Strictly Come Dancing judge.

Arlene Phillips, 78, is heading to North Wales for the 21st series of I'm A Celebrity, hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

The choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge will be joining the likes of Richard Madeley, Frankie Bridge and Adam Woodyatt in the castle for three weeks as she trades her dancing shoes for walking boots.

Arlene, who used to work alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman until 2009, will be the oldest contestant to ever appear on the I'm A Celeb, but we're sure that won't stop her from showing everyone what she's made of.

From her career, to her family life and the real reason she left Strictly Come Dancing, here's everything you need to know:

Who is Arlene Phillips and how old is she?

Arlene Phillips is a choreographer, theatre director, talent scout, TV star and former dancer herself.

Many people will recognise her from Strictly Come Dancing, where she was a judge for four years until 2009.

Arlene is 78-years-old.

Arlene Phillips was part of the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel from 2004 to 2008
Arlene Phillips was part of the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel from 2004 to 2008. Picture: Alamy

Is Arlene Phillips married and does she have children?

Arlene is married to designer and carpenter Angus Ion.

The couple started dating in 1985 after they met on the set of Freddie Mercury's music video for I Was Born To Love You.

Together they have one child, a daughter called Abigail, who they welcomed in 1990.

Arlene also has another daughter, Alana, from a previous relationship.

Arlene Phillip is married to Angus Ion, who she met back in 1985
Arlene Phillip is married to Angus Ion, who she met back in 1985. Picture: Getty
Arlene Phillips is the proud mother of two daughters, Alana and Abigail
Arlene Phillips is the proud mother of two daughters, Alana and Abigail. Picture: Getty

Why did Arlene Phillips leave Strictly Come Dancing?

Arlene was a part of the Strictly Come Dancing judging from 2004 – when it first aired in the UK – until 2008.

At that time, it was announced bosses had decided not to bring Arlene back for the 2009 series.

Alesha Dixon went on to take her place on the judging panel, a move which caused controversy among Arlene's fans who were furious she had been replaced for a star 35 years her junior.

The BBC denied that the decision to change the judging panel was motivated by age discrimination.