Belfast Telegraph

Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rihanoff to kiss and tell in racy autobiography, but Majella O'Donnell has nothing to fear

By Rachel Martin

Russian Strictly star Kristina Rihanoff is to tell all about her love life in an explosive new autobiography - but insists Majella O'Donnell has nothing to fear.

The dancer (37), who has been dubbed the 'Siberian Siren' after she dated several of her former dance partners, is currently putting Irish country and folk star Daniel O'Donnell through his paces for the hit TV show.

But she laughed off any suggestion that her current partner, former rugby star Ben Cohen, has any reason to be jealous of her partnership with the Donegal crooner.

Ms Rihanoff described Daniel as a "sweetheart", and added that she gets on well with his wife Majella O'Donnell.

Ms Rhianoff met Cohen on the show last year. The pair initially denied their relationship, but announced they were together just last month.

Speaking to The Sun ahead of the launch of her autobiography, Ms Rhianoff insisted that her relationship with the Rugby Union player started after he separated from his wife of 23 years and added that he was not jealous of her continued involvement in the show.

Despite a string of three Strictly romances, Ms Rhianoff says she does not believe in a "Strictly curse". She said: "Yes, we've seen it happen many times, but it's not just because they're on Strictly Come Dancing."

Majella and Kristina have reportedly been messaging each other since they met, but there is no concern of any sparks between teacher and her protege.

Speaking of her training sessions with Daniel, Ms Rhianoff said: "He's a very nice man and really hard-working. Ben and Daniel met and were giving each other tips. Ben told him to relax and enjoy it.

"It seems like he's enjoying himself and wants to learn it properly and he's really soaking in all the information I'm giving him."

Meanwhile, the 54-year-old singer from Dungloe, Co Donegal, explained he was "feeling exhausted" by the stress of keeping up with the intense Strictly regime.

In his Strictly diary, he explained that he had been working on the routine for up to six hours a day, as well as maintaining a busy social life. He added that he found his tutor "so easy to be around" and that the pair had gone for lunch regularly.

He said: "I think Kristina is going to be a great teacher. I think she's very patient and very calm and even when I do something very wrong she doesn't say, 'that was wrong.' She just picks me up and says, you know, 'just try do it this way'."

Addressing the concerns about Ms Rhianoff's track record head-on, he told the Sunday Life: "I know what the Press say about Kristina, but they don't always do people justice. She's a lovely person, a very nice, kind girl.

"Both myself and Majella feel very comfortable with her and I can see us staying friends. Who knows, we might bring her over to Donegal some time."

Daniel met his wife Majella while on holiday in Tenerife in 1999. Despite his initial unease about Majella's past as a divorcee, the pair married in November 2002.

Ms Rhianoff's autobiography Dancing out of Darkness will be released on October 1 and will delve into her romances, her childhood in Cold War Russia and relationship with her father who she blames for her mistrust of men.

Strictly Come Dancing starts on BBC1 on Friday, September 25 at 9pm.

Belfast Telegraph


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