Pasha Kovalev quit Strictly Come Dancing 'as girlfriend Rachel Riley feared show's curse'

14 February 2019, 06:51 | Updated: 14 February 2019, 07:43

New reports claim Rachel Riley was the reason Pasha Kovalev quit Strictly
New reports claim Rachel Riley was the reason Pasha Kovalev quit Strictly. Picture: Getty

New reports claim that the Countdown boffin urged her former dance partner to quit as he was "underpaid" - and she was worried about him being paired with an attractive celeb.

Pasha Kovalev's girlfriend Rachel Riley was behind his reason to quit Strictly Come Dancing, claim new reports.

Rachel, 33, who was partnered with the Russian professional on the 2013 series of the BBC dancing show, apparently was fearful that they could fall foul of the infamous 'Strictly curse', that has seen scores of previously happy couples torn apart by the forced intimacy of the programme.

There was also the issue of money - Rachel simply didn't believe he was being paid enough.

A source the The Sun: "Rachel is adamant Pasha is being paid far less than his hours deserve.

"Strictly has a particularly gruelling schedule and when you weigh that up against his pay packet, she feels it's not worth it.  

"Pasha isn't one of the more unionist dancers who push back at producers when they're working 18 hour days.

"He just sees it as part of the job."

In November last year, Rachel admitted that the curse weighs heavily on her mind when her boyfriend is at work, and she refuses to watch the show so she doesn't have to see him dancing with other women, with some of his sexier partners including Ashley Roberts and Caroline Flack.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing: All the couples affected by the Strictly curse

Rachel competed on Strictly in 2013
Rachel competed on Strictly in 2013. Picture: Getty

She told the Radio Times: "It's left its mark. It just makes me feel nervous — so I make myself busy when it's on. I leave Pasha to it."

Rachel ended her 15-month marriage to millionaire James Gilbert there months in to her stint on Strictly, starting a new relationship with Pasha the following year.

Yesterday Pasha, who specialises in Latin and ballroom dancing, announced his departure via Instagram.

In a statement he wrote: "After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching four finals and lifting the Glitter Ball, it’s time for me to find a new challenge so I’ve decided to make this my final season on Strictly.”