KEVIN Clifton has emerged as Strictly’s biggest lothario after three failed marriages and a love affair with his latest celeb dance partner Stacey Dooley.
The Grimsby-born star, 36, recently insisted he would never date a co-star, but it has now been revealed he romanced documentary-maker Stacey behind her boyfriend Sam Tucknott’s back.
Just weeks ago Kevin was asked about falling victim to the Strictly curse, replying: “No, never. You’re there to do a job and get on with the dancing. That’s what it’s about.”
One of Strictly’s most popular dancers, Kevin was in Stacey’s sights from the beginning, according to Sam.
He revealed how the journalist was desperate to be partnered with Kevin once she was selected to appear, citing his past four finals and his bubbly, fun-loving personality as reasons.
Sam recalled: “From the start she made it clear she wanted to be partnered with Kevin.
“He’d been to the final four times and they are similar heights, and he seemed a nice guy. But hand-on-heart there was no thought about it.”
Their close bond was clear to see as the competition progressed, and after winning the Glitterball, Stacey gushed: “You know how highly I think of you. I think you are the biggest gem. You’re patient, you’re talented, your choreography is second to none. You so deserve this.”
While King Kev said: “You are so lovely, and I just think the absolute world of you.”
Delighted with his girlfriend’s win, supportive Sam was also glad for the show’s end so he would have more time with Stacey.
But their relationship was never the same, a “hollow” Christmas confirming things weren’t right between them.
After discovering a message from Kevin on Stacey’s phone which read “I love you,” Sam’s suspicions were confirmed.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun On Sunday, he raged: “The blame is with Kevin. He’s an absolute rat.”
Kevin’s had no trouble attracting beauties in the past, but keeping hold of them has been an altogether different matter.
His first marriage to Anna Melnikova in 2003 disintegrated after Kevin fell out of love with competitive dancing.
He didn’t remain single for long, however, marrying glamorous Clare Craze in 2007.
They starred together in Broadway show Burn The Floor, which is where Kevin would meet his third wife Karen.
Once again, the marriage experienced difficulties and the pair split in 2010. It would be another three years before their divorce was finalised.
Kevin later admitted he was “never happy” with Clare, and his connection with Karen was on “a completely different level.”
He said: “I was never particularly happy in my previous marriage and I wasn’t myself — a lot of friends and family were telling me that. It was just a bit of a weird time. When I met Karen, I could get on with her on a completely different level.”
Clare was livid with Kevin’s assessment, writing in a now deleted social media post: “It is so difficult to stick to my decision not to get involved. Everything in me wants to scream from the rooftops what the actual truth is.”
Kevin proposed to Karen on her birthday in 2013 during a performance of Burn The Floor, with the couple marrying in 2015.
Just two years later though, marriage number three was over following cheating rumours.
Despite the split last March, they remain good friends and have since toured professionally. Karen celebrated wildly when Kevin won his maiden Strictly crown, hugging him on the dancefloor and later tweeting her congratulations.
It’s not just Kevin’s own marriages that have been plagued with upset.
Three of his Strictly partners have seen their relationships collapse after being paired with him.
Susanna Reid separated from her husband of 16 years Dominic Cotton in 2014, while Louise Redknapp divorced retired footballer Jamie in 2017.
Louise and Kevin grew close after they were paired up during the 2016 series of Strictly.
There has never been an official accusation of an affair, but the pair’s close relationship was said to have caused trouble in both of their marriages.
Jamie, 45, became increasingly concerned about the impact Strictly was having on his 18-year marriage.
According to a close friend of Karen, the Venezuelan beauty told Jamie: “Keep your wife away from my husband. She’s ruining our marriage.”
Shortly after Louise’s stint on the show, she split from Jamie, and the pair filed for divorce in December 2017.
Self-confessed former goth Kevin landed his “dream role” earlier this year as misogynistic rocker Stacee Jaxx in musical Rock Of Ages.
His first appearance in the musical sees him receiving oral sex and he goes on to party and sleep his way through the Sunset Strip, pinching an aspiring singer’s girl in the process.
He previously said of the role in an interview with Theatre South East: “He’s the over the top, flamboyant megastar that all the girls want to be with and all the men want to be but at the same time he’s a bit of a villain – he’s pretentious and self obsessed, thinking he’s God’s gift to everything and ultimately he disrupts everyone else’s lives!”
Kevin admitted he used to see himself as a rock star and relished being able to play the bad boy.
“I can definitely tap into the pretentious nature of him – I think I used to be a bit like that, thinking I was a rock star when I was just a ballroom dancer, everyone goes through that sort of phase a bit though! I used to think I was really rock’n’roll when I am the least rock’n’roll person in the world!”
And in an ironic twist, the woman he pursues in the musical shares the same surname as Stacey, which didn’t pass Kevin by.
He explained: “Actually, one of my favourite facts is that that I obviously just danced with Stacey Dooley on Strictly Come Dancing, and her full name is actually Anastacia Jaclyn Dooley, and her nickname is Stacey Jacs, so it seems like it was all meant to be!”
Perhaps the reason behind Kevin’s romantic burn outs is his intense upbringing.
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From the age of four Kevin has dedicated his life to achieving success in the dance world, following in the footsteps of his Latin American dance champ parents Keith and Judy.
Showmen such as Michael Jackson, Fred Astaire and Robbie Williams inspired him to give his all to the discipline.
Karen has said previously that “sweet” Kevin has an “intense” side.
Something he agreed with, saying: “When I’m on Strictly, I’m not an easy person to live with. I go a bit mad.”
On another occasion, the Mail reports him as saying: “I get panicky when I have too much time off! Even on a day off I always end up doing something because I feel like if I relax too much I’m not being productive.”
Last night Stacey broke her social media silence following Sam’s explosive reveal, posting online: “Forgive not because they deserve forgiveness. But because you deserve peace.”
She’s since gone on to say there are “two sides to every story”.
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