Did Pasha Kovalev leave Strictly Come Dancing because Rachel Riley feared the

Strictly Come Dancing pro Pasha Kovalev reportedly chose to leave the hit BBC show because his girlfriend Rachel Riley feared becoming a victim of the notorious Strictly curse.

A source told The Sun that Riley felt “uncomfortable” when the 39-year-old dancer was paired with a series of attractive female celebrities, including Ashley Roberts and Caroline Flack, with whom he won the show in 2014.

The publication also reports that the Countdown star believed her boyfriend was being “underpaid” for his work on the show.

“Rachel is adamant that Pasha is being paid far less than his hours deserve,” the source told the paper.

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Couple: Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev danced together in 2013 (BBC)

“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.”

Standard Online has contacted representatives for Kovalev and Riley for comment, as well as representatives for the BBC show.

Kovalev announced that he would be leaving the show after eight years in a Twitter statement posted yesterday.

“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,” he wrote.“I’ve had 8 fantastic years, full of wonderful memories, thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is.”A post from Strictly’s official Twitter account described him as “an incredibly talented and dedicated dancer” who will be “hugely missed.”Kovalev and Riley started dating in 2014, months after they were paired up on the show.The presenter ended her 15 month marriage to James Gilbert shortly after joining the series.Read more

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Discussing the show’s so-called ‘curse,’ which has seen contestants fall for their professional partners, in a 2019 interview, Riley said: “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.”Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2018

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Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara on Strictly Come Dancing’s 2018 Christmas Special

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The class of Christmas 2018

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The judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli

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This year’s competitors

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Anita Rani and Neil Jones

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Caroline Flack and Gorka Marquez

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Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara

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Anita Rani

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Jake Wood and Luba Mushtuk

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Caroline Flack and Gorka Marquez

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Ann Widdecombe and Anton Du Beke

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Michael Vaughan and Nadiya Bychkova

BBC / Guy Levy

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Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara on Strictly Come Dancing’s 2018 Christmas Special

BBC / Guy Levy

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The class of Christmas 2018

BBC / Guy Levy

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The judges Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli

BBC / Guy Levy

4/12

This year’s competitors

BBC / Guy Levy

5/12

Anita Rani and Neil Jones

BBC / Guy Levy

6/12

Caroline Flack and Gorka Marquez

BBC / Guy Levy

7/12

Aston Merrygold and Janette Manrara

BBC / Guy Levy

8/12

Anita Rani

BBC / Guy Levy

9/12

Jake Wood and Luba Mushtuk

BBC / Guy Levy

10/12

Caroline Flack and Gorka Marquez

BBC / Guy Levy

11/12

Ann Widdecombe and Anton Du Beke

BBC / Guy Levy

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Michael Vaughan and Nadiya Bychkova

BBC / Guy Levy