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Strictly's Simone and wife dance to quieter tune at rural idyll in Northern Ireland

By Claire O'Boyle

The wife of former Strictly Come Dancing star Vincent Simone has told how moving to the Northern Ireland countryside helped her overcome anxiety while her husband was on the road.

Londonderry native Susan Duddy married the dancer in 2015, but said city life with their children Luca (7) and three-year-old Matteo had started to take its toll.

The couple moved to a stunning rural plot in the Derry countryside, close to Susan's family, last year.

She said: "I was getting to a stage where I was starting to feel exhausted, being on my own so much with two small children.

"I was beginning to suffer from anxiety, it's not an ideal situation when you have a husband who is on the road touring.

"My parents are here in Northern Ireland, as are my brothers and sister, and I needed that network around me," she said in an interview with Hello! magazine.

The former flight attendant explained the move had given the couple space to focus on Matteo, who has a delayed speech and language problem.

Susan said: "He's so young, the health professionals are reluctant to put a label on it.

"It's not that I want him to be labelled, I just feel that if I understood, I could help him, because at the moment I feel helpless.

"I've cried many tears because of the fear of the unknown."

However, she said she was now able to relax following Matteo's positive test results and speech therapy, which has taught the youngster to say words such as "daddy" and "mama".

Italian-born Simone also said he was enjoying the quieter life.

He said: "I've never lived in the countryside before. In Italy we were surrounded by buildings and the noise of scooters, and the town Susan and I moved from - not far from London - is very busy and lively. It has been a real change for me."

Speaking on his love for Northern Ireland last year, Simone said: "I have been working too much lately. I've got my wife and my two boys. I love Derry, I feel like I'm on holiday as everyone is so laidback. The people are very like the people in Italy, they pick you up, they spin you around. I will make the most of my time here."

The couple got married at Castle Leslie in Co Monaghan in July 2015. They had met in the bar at BBC Television Centre in 2007 after Susan watched an episode of Strictly from the audience. It came not long after Vincent had split from fellow Strictly professional Flavia Cacace.

However, their relationship hit the rocks in 2009 when Vincent confessed to having an on-tour fling with co-star Kristina Rihanoff.

Susan was pregnant with their first son when she walked out.

But the couple reunited after Luca was born.

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