Belfast Telegraph

Strictly star Kristina Rihanoff 'gutted' with Daniel O'Donnell pairing, claims Craig Revel Horwood

By Claire Williamson

Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rihanoff was "gutted" to be paired up with Daniel O'Donnell this season - judge Craig Revel Horwood has claimed as he poked fun at her romantic past.

Legendary Irish singer Daniel O'Donnell, who has sold more than 10 million records around the globe and has a legion of dedicated fans,  is one of the celebrity stars in the line-up this year.

The 53-year-old has been teamed with professional dancer Kristina whose romantic history on the show has been well documented.

She was teamed with professional boxer Joe Calzaghe in 2009 and he left his long-term partner after his participation, going on to romance Kristina.

Their relationship ended in 2013 which was the same year she worked with former rugby star Ben Cohen. Their friendship was marred in controversy as Ben split from his wife who he’d been with since he was 17, At the time Ben and Kristina insisted they weren’t an item but they have since confirmed they are dating.

Judge Craig Revel Horwood said: "She’s a bit of a loose cannon and I feel sorry for Daniel O’Donnell.

He told The Sun: “When she first got paired with him, I think she was gutted. But it was rather obvious she wasn’t going to get a hot, young celeb after everything that’s happened.”

Craig is famed for his acid-tongued remarks on the show and is billed as Mr Nasty as he among the first of the judges to point out any mistakes.

He said: "It’s natural to fall in love with your dance partner when you’re spending so much time together and Kristina managed it a few times.

“But somehow I don’t think that will be the case this time around.”

However, Daniel doesn't seem too concerned as he has spoken about how excited he is to be taking part in this year's programme.

Daniel and Kristina made their Striclty debut last Friday night with the singer keeping true to his roots as he danced to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

Addressing the concerns about Ms Rhianoff's track record head-on, he previously 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."

Speaking previously Ms Rihanoff 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.

Daniel O'Donnell - A life so far

  • He was born in Kincasslagh, Co Donegal, in 1961
  • He recorded his first single, My Donegal Shore, with £1,200 of his own money
  • He has sold more than 10 million records since 1983
  • In 2001, he was awarded an honorary MBE for his services to the music industry
  • He married Majella McLennan in 2002, becoming stepfather to her two children
  • He has had a different album in the UK charts each year for 27 consecutive years

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