David James told Strictly’s Nadiya Bychkova ‘if it looks like we’re having an affair, we’re doing it right’ – The Sun

STRICTLY beauty Nadiya Bychkova has told how David James was thrilled by rumours the pair were secretly dating, telling her: “We must be doing something right.”

Ukrainian Nadiya, who is engaged to Slovenian footballer Matija Skarabot, was linked to the former England goalkeeper after they were paired together during the last series of the BBC1 dance show.

As the Playboy model became “so close” to David, 49, he revealed he was delighted that people believed they were in love after watching their routines.

And while the pair fired up the rumour mill again when they were pictured cuddling during rehearsals in December, Nadiya insisted that their chemistry is strictly limited to the dance floor.

She revealed: “You have to have chemistry. Chemistry is important on the dance floor. But it doesn’t always mean that something is going on off-camera.

“I remember David saying if there are rumours of a romance between us, we must be going in the right direction because that’s how it should look.

“David and I are still really good friends — we spoke today — and he’s such nice man, so ­intelligent.

“In such a short period of time, we became so close.”

Nadiya added: “It’s a very unique situation when you are dancing with someone on Strictly because you have to become a team and learn to trust each other very quickly.

“There are only seven days between the coupling up and the first show. And because of the whole situation — the ­pressure, the nerves — you really get to know each other.

“David had a hard time on the show because he had so many injuries to deal with.

“He had to stop every hour to stretch. But I think he did an amazing job.”

The former Liverpool ace is the third dance partner Nadiya, 30, has been romantically linked to in her three series on the show.

She was previously rumoured to be dating EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, who she finished sixth with in 2017, and a year later pop star Lee Ryan.

They were the second couple to be eliminated that year.

While the two-time Ballroom World Champ denies ever going behind her fiancé’s back, Nadiya admits her close friendships with dance partners has been “difficult” for Matija, 32.

She added: “The fact that my job on Strictly means I have to spend so much time with another man would be difficult for anyone.

“Matija meets all my partners and he’s around on the show, so he knows exactly how it is.

“But it looks different to people when you’re performing a romantic dance — a lovely Viennese waltz, where you need to pretend that you are in love.

“Then, as with David, there are pictures which are like, ‘What is going on here?’

“But as long as the people around me know the truth, that’s all that matters.

“Matija is a very calm and relaxed person, and he copes because he knows me well.”

Nadiya, who posed naked for Playboy in 2015, proved an instant hit when she joined Strictly two years later alongside Dianne ­Buswell and Amy Dowden.

Since then, her rumoured romances have won her as much ­attention as her performances.

She suspects BBC bosses paired her with twice-married David, who has four children with first wife Tanya, in a bid to generate headlines.

Nadiya said: “I thought I would be paired with David this year because of his height — he’s 6ft 4in while I am 5ft 8in — and also because he’s a former footballer.

“That means there can be more ­stories. The pairings are definitely more about height and character, but I think the bosses pay attention to everything.”

She went on: “I’ve been linked to all of my dance partners and some in-between as well. Sometimes it feels like the Strictly curse is all I ever talk about.

“To be honest, I don’t really see it as a curse that some people get together on the show. There is a strong chance it will happen.

“But I’m happy with Matija, so that situation doesn’t affect me.

“He is really supportive. He has no interest in showbiz, but he wants me to do well. He knows I love what I do and he never holds me back.”

Nadiya and Matija, who live in ­Slovenia with their three-year-old daughter Mila, are hoping to wed later this year after postponing their big day last year due to work commitments.

Nadiya, who will be touring the UK with stage show Strictly: The Professionals in May and June, cannot wait to tie the knot in a “rustic” ceremony.

She said: “We had plans to get married last year, but all of the work got in the way. I really want to take the time to enjoy planning everything and to add personal touches.

“I have picked out a really nice place in Slovenia for the venue. It’s quite rustic, kind of a castle but more relaxed.

“There will definitely be saxophones playing, and Mila will be a bridesmaid. That’s why I would like to do it soon, while she’s around this age.”

Nadiya also revealed plans to expand their brood.

She said: “I want ten kids but Matija disagrees, so we’ve agreed on three . . .  for now. I definitely want a big family, though. I’m an only child, so that’s probably why.”

Nadiya is also set to star in six-date stage show Viva La Divas alongside Strictly co-stars Janette Manrara and Katya Jones in the summer.

Each performance celebrates female icons, including two of Nadiya’s heroines, ­Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.

She said: “This tour is about celebrating the women who inspired us.

“When I was young I looked up to Ginger Rogers, who was very old-school glamour, and actresses like Marilyn Monroe, who I remember in Some Like It Hot.

“I would love to try some acting some day. But I started dancing when I was five, so I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Of her success, Nadiya said: “I consider myself very lucky because I was able to be World Champion twice.

“I’m sure there are hundreds of ­dancers who worked as hard, but it never happened for them. All I can say is I’m so happy with where I am now.”

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