Kevin Clifton: Strictly pro says AJ Pritchard tried to steal now-girlfriend Stacey Dooley

Kevin Clifton, 36, who is currently dating Stacey Dooley, 32, made the surprising revelation during a one-off special of Strictly Come Dancing, which offers an inside look at what the professionals get up to behind-the-scenes. The dancer was crowned the winner of the show last year and it was revealed in April that he is in a relationship with Stacey. In the show – set to air on Saturday – Kevin explains he may not have been partnered with the documentary-filmmaker, after the stars took part in a speed-dating dance which sees them briefly dance with each celebrity before they are officially paired up, according to The Sun. He claimed BBC favourite AJ Pritchard, 24, attempted to make a beeline for his now-girlfriend.

The Rock of Ages star said: “Last year with Stacey in the salsa circle I was going for it — bang, bang, bang — overdoing it.

“And then at one point we were on a coffee break and AJ interrupted us in the middle of us talking and took her away, because he wanted to get to know and see what she was about. I was like, ‘It’s not Love Island, mate!’”

Fortunately, Kevin was eventually paired with Stacey, and the pair wowed viewers with their routines before they scooped the Glitterball trophy.

This year the Strictly winner has been partnered with Anneka Rice, 60, and the British dancer has hit back at claims he was not happy with the decision.

It comes after it was reported that Kevin was fuming he had been paired with Anneka.

The BBC favourite took to Twitter and slammed the alleged claims branding them “ridiculous”.

In view of his 234,000 followers, the ballroom professional wrote: “Oh it’s ridiculous I just laugh nowadays. As usual a completely made up story.”

It was also said the ballroom professional dancer would have preferred being paired with Catherine Tyldesley, 35, or Alex Scott, 35.

A source told The Sun: “He calls himself King Kevin and wanted to make Strictly history by winning back to back titles.

“But although Anneka is willing, her age and agility means he won’t be able to throw her around like he did previous partners.”

It has also been alleged by the publication that Kevin is convinced that his partnership is a result of his romance with Stacey.

The insider added: “Kevin thinks Anneka is great on a personal level but believes people at the top are putting the boot in for the fallout from his relationship with Stacey.

“Kevin is used to being one of the show’s favourites and doesn’t want to become the joke act.” contacted Kevin Clifton’s representatives at the time.

Elsewhere, he recently reunited with his girlfriend at the Strictly launch show for a racy performance of their Paso Doble.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on September 21.

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