Why did Pasha Kovalev quit Strictly, will he still do the live tour and how long as he been dating Rachel Riley?

He's had an eventful time on the show from winning the glitter trophyball to finding love with Rachel Riley but now he's ready to bid farewell to the Strictly family. Here's what we know…

Why did Pasha quit Strictly Come Dancing?

Pasha quit the show after eight years because it was time to find a "new challenge".

But despite quitting the show he will still be joining the Strictly tour.

On 13th February the dancer, 39, released a statement on social media saying:

He said: "After scoring 93 perfect tens, reaching four finals and lift one glitter ball, it's time for me to find a new challenge and so I've decided to make last year – my final season on Strictly.

"I've had eight fantastic years, full of wonderful memories thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is.

"The biggest thanks go to all the members of the public who've supported me so much over these years."

The Sun exclusively revealed that the dancer had quit after eight series to concentrate on his relationship with girlfriend Rachel Riley.

The long-serving star, 39, was heard voicing his frustration last year that Rachel did not support him during the series and hated him being on the show.

The countdown star didn't like him spending so much time with attractive female celebrities that he was partnered with like Ashley Roberts.

A Strictly insider said: “Rachel is adamant Pasha is being paid far less than his hours deserve.

“Strictly has a particularly gruelling schedule and when you weigh that up against his pay packet, she feels it’s not worth it.

“Pasha isn’t one of the more unionist dancers who push back at producers when they’re working 18 hour days.

“He just sees it as part of the job.”

Rachel, 33, is also quietly concerned about the Strictly curse harming their relationship as that is how she started dating Pasha.

What will Pasha be doing post-Strictly?

In his statement Pasha confirmed that he would still be doing the Strictly tour but he remained coy about what else he has in store.

He wrote: "I look forward to seeing you on the Strictly pr-tour this spring, and for many future adventures to come!"

Fans will be relieved to know they can catch him during the Spring tour but they'll have to see what else he has lined up.

Though The Sun exclusively revealed that the dancer had quit after eight series to concentrate on his relationship with girlfriend Rachel Riley.

So it's likely that Pasha will be enjoying his down time with his partner of four years.



How long has Pasha been with Rachel Riley?

Pasha met his partner Rachel Riley – who was married at the time – when she was his celebrity contestant on Series 11 of the show in 2013.

Though their relationship was strictly professional until 2014.

The couple's love blossomed after being paired together despite her being the fifth star to get eliminated.

Rachel has gushed over the dancer, saying: "He's gorgeous, he's amazing when you need a bit of support that's when you know you're with the nice person. He's a good egg."

Who is Pasha Kovalev, how old is he and what is his background?

Pasha Kovalev is a 38-year-old professional dancer known for his work on Strictly Come Dancing.

Born in Siberia, Pasha began dancing at the age of eight and competed in the US series So You Think You Can Danc.

Pasha moved to the UK in 2011 to take part in his first series of Strictly Come Dancing, where he competed with Chelsee Healey.

In series eleven, Pasha competed with Countdown queen Rachel Riley – and shortly after the show Riley split from her husband.

A few months later, Rachel and Pasha announced they'd started a relationship and remain together to this day.

In 2016 Pasha was been paired with BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty and they left in week four.

Despite only having been a part of the show for six years, Pasha has been a hit with both the viewers and the judges.

Has Pasha ever won Strictly?

In the 2012 series, Pasha lifted the Glitterball trophy with partner Caroline Flack – they historically scored four "perfect 40s", a feat unmatched in the history of the show.

Pasha describes his teaching style as "patience, patience, patience".

When he's not dancing, Pasha says he enjoys reading, films, travel and food.

When is Strictly on BBC One?

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