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13 March 2020, 12:35 | Updated: 13 March 2020, 15:20
Kevin Clifton has revealed that he left Strictly after being offered the lead role in Strictly Ballroom in London's West End.
Kevin Clifton appeared on This Morning today to share the real reason he quit Strictly Come Dancing, following his recent announcement that he wouldn't be returning to the BBC show.
The pro dancer, 37, told hosts Eamonn Holmes and Rochelle Humes that he quit because he'd been offered his dream job in the West End - the lead role in musical Strictly Ballroom.
Opening up about his decision, he said: "I've always been thinking about when would be the right time to leave and pave the way for younger dancers coming through.
"I’ve done seven years on the show, and done everything I wanted to achieve.
"Then, something came along that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a child.
Kevin went on to reveal that he used to have Strictly Ballroom parties with his friends as a child, and added that he was nearly cast in the show when it first came to the West End a few years ago, but that it didn't work out.
However, he then told a delighted Eamonn and Rochelle: "I’ve just been offered the title role in Strictly Ballroom".
Kevin also defended his girlfriend Stacey Dooley against the negative backlash she received when he made the announcement, after she was accused of being the reason that he left.
He said: "I did talk about it with her, and she always said to me: this has to be your decision. You cant have anyone tell you what to do here".
Kevin announced he would be leaving Strictly last week, writing on Instagram: "The past 7 years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.
"Since first being called Kevin From Grimsby by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of 5 finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley."