Strictly stars shouldn't fear show's 'curse' because none of the pros are looking for love, says Amy Dowden

STRICTLY dancer Amy Dowden says the off-screen partners of this year’s celebrity contestants should not fear the show’s supposed curse – because none of the pros are looking for love.

Engaged Amy, 28, told The Sun that not a single pro dancer uses the BBC1 series as a dating opportunity, and insists they get an unfair rap.

The star, who reached the 2019 Strictly final with children’s TV presenter Karim Zeroual, said: “I don’t know one dancer who has joined the show to bag a boyfriend.

“We’re not here to find romance.

“If someone is after that, they’d be on Love Island.

“We do Strictly because we love to dance.

"Everyone is absolutely passionate about the job.

“We’ve all trained for many, many years and we have many dance championships between us all.

“We’re all in the programme to produce the best show possible.”

Provisional plans to put Strictly’s pros and celebrities in Covid isolation together for eight weeks, as revealed by The Sun, heightened fears of the curse being worse than ever this year.

But Welsh beauty Amy, who has previously danced with comic Brian Conley and Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules, is adamant the curse is very unlikely to strike and says all the dancers are keen to integrate themselves with their dance partners’ families.

Amy, who is engaged to fellow pro Ben Jones, added: “We’ve always got to know the families.

"With Brian, Ben and I used to go around weekly for a takeaway or dinner and we got really close with the whole of Bri’s family.

"With Danny, I met his wife Petula straight away, and his lovely children. Plus, I got to know Karim’s family too.”

The bonds she has built on the show are so strong that Brian and Karim should have been attending her nuptials on July 25 – but the marriage has been postponed due to Covid.

She says: “I’m not gonna lie, many tears were shed.

“At the beginning of lockdown I was quite naive and thought July was far enough away for it to have been possible.

“But, at the end of the day, over 40,000 people have lost their lives.

“We’re still going to get married.

"It’s just been postponed a year.

“The 25th of July this year is going to be a tough day.

“I really hope the weather is bad and the sun doesn’t shine.”

Amy reveals she and Ben kept their romance secret for six years after meeting in 2011.

She explained: “We were scared about our dance teachers and what they’d say.

“But little did we know, for the many years we tried to keep it under wraps, everybody already knew.”

One of the most important parts of her relationship with Ben is how under-standing he is of her Crohn’s disease, which can leave her hospitalised for weeks at a time.

The chronic illness can cause flare-ups in her gut which leave her in intense pain and unable to dance.

When younger, she feared her dream of becoming a pro dancer would never work out, due to lengthy hospital stays and her lack of a diagnosis for eight years.

Amy said: “I was 11 years old when, out of the blue, the night before Christmas Eve, I just became really, really poorly – vomiting, and in horrendous pain that made me pass out.

"My parents took me straight to hospital.

“For many years after that, I’d be ill for a couple of months at a time but then it came with a vengeance when I was 18.

“From the ages of 18 and 19, a month didn’t go by when I did not spend at least a week in hospital.

“I thought during one six-week stint that I would never be able to achieve my dream, which put me in a very dark place.”

It has not stopped her from becoming the UK’s British National Champion in Latin American dance with Ben, or being a Strictly Pro.

But Amy revealed how she had feared TV bosses would reject her for the show if they learned of her Crohn’s.

She said: “I never forget when Strictly offered me the job. I said, ‘I need to tell you something first’, because I thought, ‘They’re not going to take me because I’ve got a chronic illness’. But they have been amazing.”

That fear came from years of failed job applications prior to Strictly.

Amy said: “I tick the chronic illness box and it’s right next to ‘Have you got a criminal record?’

“I thought, ‘Is that going in the same pile as the other box’.”

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