Original Strictly professional dancers now from ‘parent bods’ to marrying soap stars

The 18th series of Strictly Come Dancing is well underway and this year we've seen four new professional dancers join the popular BBC One show.

Over the years, viewers have watched 64 professional dancers take to the Strictly dance floor and there's now only Anton Du Beke left from the first series, but he is part of the judging panel rather than the competition.

There's been married couples take part in the show, such as James and Ola Jordan and Lilia Kopylova and Darren Bennett, as well as some who even fell for their celebrity partners during their time on Strictly.

Here we take a look at where the original Strictly pros are now…

Ola & James Jordan

James and Ola Jordan both joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2006 and went on to stay on the show for man years.

James decided to leave the BBC One in 2014 with his wife following suit the year after.

After leaving, James appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and won Dancing On Ice. He and Ola welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Ella, in 2019.

Camilla Dallerup

Camilla Dallerup appeared on the first series of Strictly, where she was paired with David Dickinson. The duo were the second couple to be eliminated from the competition.

Camilla was once engaged to fellow pro Brendan Cole but their romance came to an end when he grew close to his Strictly partner Natasha Kaplinsky.

Camilla lifted the Glitterball trophy for the first time in 2008 alongside actor Tom Chambers and she also announced she was quitting the show shortly after.

The 47 year old went on to marry Hollyoaks star Kevin Sacre in 2010 after meeting on BBC Two show The Underdogs. The pair now live in Los Angeles together, where Camilla works as a lifecoach, hypnotherapist and mindful living expert.

Brendan Cole

Brendan Cole appeared in 15 series of Strictly before being sacked from the show in 2018 after waltzing with Camilla, now Queen Consort, at Buckingham Palace.

Brendan won the first series of Strictly alongside Natasha Kaplinsky and over the years was paired with stars such as Lisa Snowdon and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

After leaving, he appeared on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, The X Factor: Celebrity and Dancing On Ice.

He's married to model Zoe Hobbs and the pair share daughter Aurelia and son Dante.

Lilia Kopylova & Darren Bennett

Lilia Koylova joined Strictly for its second series and she took home the trophy in the third series with cricketer Darren Gough.

She made it to the final again in 2006 with Matt Dawson and in 2009 she quit Strictly after bosses said she wouldn't have a celebrity partner for that series. She became a choreographer on Dancing with the Stars Ireland and the head judge on the Turkish version of Strictly.

Lilia, 47, is married to fellow former Strictly pro Darren Bennett, 44, who also joined in series two. He won with Jill Halfpenny in 2008 and quit after series seven.

The couple, who run a dance studio in Sheffield, are parents to Valentina, six, and one year old Lucia.

Aliona Vilani

Aliona, 37, is one of the only professionals to win Strictly twice, with Oti Mabuse being the only other dancer to do so.

Aliona won alongside McFly's Harry Judd and The Wanted star Jay McGuinness. She joined in 2009 and six years later she quit in order to relocate to the US.

The 37 year old now lives in Florida with her husband, professional dancer Vincent Kavanagh, and their daughter Bella.

Karen Hardy

Karen joined Strictly in 2005 and won in 2006 with Mark Ramprakash.

The 51 year old left the BBC One show after she "fell out of love" with it in 2008 when she was paired with Gary Rhodes. The pair struggled to train much due to Gary's work commitments which caused tension between him and Karen.

Karen continues to appear on It Takes Two and she also runs her own private members' ballroom dance club in London.

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Vincent Simone

Vincent Simone, 42, was known as Strictly's resident Tango expert but he left in 2012 after reaching the final alongside both Rachel Stevens and Dani Harmer.

One year after quitting, he took part in I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!

Last year, he split from his wife following a busy tour with fellow dancer Ian Waite.

Matthew Cutler

Matthew Cutler, 47, competed on Strictly from 2005 until 2009, and is most remembered for dancing with Alesha Dixon in series five.

He also reached fifth place with both Christine Lampard and Carol Smillie. Matthew quit the show to focus on running his own dance studio in Croydon.

Hanna Karttunen

Hanna had several world championships under her belt before she joined Strictly, and she made it to the final in the first series alongside soap star Christopher Parker.

The 47 year old has also appeared as guest performer on Strictly in Russia, South Africa, Italy, the UK and US.

Karen, along with professional dance partner Victor Da Silva, has been invited to lecture and perform at some of the biggest dance events across the globe during her career.

She is married to rock radio presenter Jone Nikula, with the pair tying the knot back in 2014.

Erin Boag

Erin Boag competed in 10 series of Strictly as well as six Christmas specials, having joined the show with professional dance partner Anton Du Beke.

The 46 year old made it to the final on two occasions, first with Julian Clary then with Colin Jackson.

She married business consultant Peter O'Dowd in 2009 and in 2014 they welcomed their first child, a son named Ewan.

Paul Killick

Paul starred in two series of Strictly and was partnered with Verona Joseph then Carol Vorderman.

The 50 year old then left the show due to the demanding workload. He said at the time: "The workload was something we were not expecting. We didn't realise it was going to be so intense, as it was.”

He now serves as a world-class adjudicator for a large number of the world's National and International DanceSport competitions.

Paul also runs his own dance studio in London and is the director and owner of the Arthur Murray International flagship studio in Beverly Hills.


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