Stacey Dooley has insisted there’s ‘two sides to every story’ when it comes to her headline-grabbing romance with Strictly partner Kevin Clifton.
But fresh claims suggest the BBC documentary maker broke up with boyfriend of five years, personal trainer Sam Tucknott, 30, for the professional dancer in order to ‘better her career’.
It’s also been rumoured that Stacey, 32, and Kevin, 36, have been enjoying a secret romance for months, with photos emerging of the pair heading into the same Birmingham hotel in January.
New romance: Stacey Dooley reportedly broke up with boyfriend of five years, personal trainer Sam Tucknott, for the her Strictly partner Kevin Clifton in order to ‘better her career’
Weeks after picking up the Glitterball trophy with Kevin in December, Stacey took part in the Strictly tour, but was separated from her partner who ruled himself out of the live shows to concentrate on his own Burn The Floor tour.
Despite his hectic work schedule Kevin made the long trip to Birmingham to show his support for Stacey on tour, cheering her on as she danced with Aljaz Skorjanec.
Kevin, whose relationship with Stacey was said to be an ‘open secret’ during the tour, was seen later that night heading into a five star hotel in the city, while Stacey, and the rest of the tour cast, followed close behind.
Intense: Sam, who split from Stacey after a five-year relationship in March, blames the match on the intensive hours Kevin and the journalist spent together on Strictly
As a Strictly insider said to the Mirror: ‘There was no reason for Kevin to slog all the way to Birmingham to see her perform. The fact he did speaks volumes about where they were in their relationship.’
The January meet-up came weeks before Stacey announced she had split from her long-term beau Sam, after five years together.
Sam himself admitted in an interview with the Mail On Sunday though, that their relationship was under strain late last year as Stacey spent 14 hours a day training with Kevin for their Strictly win.
Insiders have claimed that Stacey, known for her hard-hitting BBC Three documentaries, ‘dumped’ Sam for Kevin as he was ‘better for her image’.
Close: It’s been rumoured that Stacey and Kevin have been enjoying secret romance for months, with photos emerging of the pair heading into the same Birmingham hotel in January
According to the report friends of Stacey had warned her that her blossoming career on the back of Strictly could be stalled if she continued in her relationship with personal trainer Sam.
A source said: ‘Getting on Strictly made Stacey a household name but winning was her breakthrough. The team around her had been preparing to propel her into the mainstream spotlight. They felt Sam could hold Stacey back.’
While Sam supported Stacey during both the Strictly live shows, memorably leaping from his seat at her win with Kevin, and the tour, behind the scenes insiders were worried how he was affecting Stacey’s image.
Former flame: The January meet-up came weeks before Stacey announced she had split from her long-term beau Sam, after five years together
A source added to The Sun: ‘Sam turned up to the studios in a tracksuit a couple of times and there were raised eyebrows.
‘Stacey’s team want her with someone sharp and shiny. Kevin has charisma, he’s a household name and he’s well liked. Stacey knows that too — as well as falling for him, she knows Kevin will help lift her.’
Representatives for Stacey and Kevin have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
On Monday Stacey defended herself in a defiant tweet a day after after her ex accused her of dumping him for Kevin.
Nothing bad to say: On Monday Stacey defended herself in a defiant tweet a day after after her ex accused her of dumping him for Kevin
The TV presenter, 32, wrote: ‘Anyone with any adult life experience knows there are 2 sides to every story. I haven’t got the time or energy to correct some of the utter nonsense I’ve read on here.
‘Re Sam, I loved him v much and only wish him happiness and success going forward.’
Stacey had broken her silence over the matter the day before, as she liked a tweet about forgiveness.
There for her: Stacey received a lot of support from fans after her most recent post
It comes a day after Sam revealed he had confronted Kevin about his relationship with Stacey during a furious FaceTime call.
He told the Mail on Sunday: ‘He went white. I just stuck it on him, “You’re an absolute rat. How you conducted yourself. Just a slippery, slimy snake.” He didn’t say a word. He looked petrified. He looked so shocked.’
‘I am so respectful of [Stacey], but I am gutted and I am disappointed and I feel so let down that she did not have the respect for me to tell me and just come clean.’
During the interview, Sam, who split from Stacey after a five-year relationship in March, blamed the potential match on the intensive hours Kevin and the journalist spent together on Strictly.
Hurt: Stacey’s ex boyfriend of five years Sam branded Kevin a ‘snake’ and a ‘rat’ for sending flirty text messages to Stacey
He said all was well in their relationship until mid-November – when Stacey and Kevin were performing in Strictly Come Dancing – and he noticed flirty text messages from the dancer.
Sam said a message Stacey received from Kevin one Sunday morning read ‘I love dancing with you and spending every minute I can with you’.
The personal trainer said: ‘Maybe I was too naive. Looking back now all the signs were there that I had lost Stacey, but I kept thinking we had done the hardest bit.
‘I had proved to her for five years that I could cope with her going away for long periods of time because the love I have for her is unconditional.’
But by the end of March, the couple had made arrangements to separate and for Stacey to move out of their Brighton home.
It was then that Sam discovered a text message from Kevin which he said confirmed to him that they were in a relationship – and he decided to confront the dancer.
Flirty: Sam said all was well in their relationship until November – when Stacey and Kevin were performing in Strictly Come Dancing – and he noticed flirty text messages from the dancer