Ben Cohen’s Strictly romance with Kristina Rihanoff – wife attack and heartache

Ben Cohen’s Strictly romance with Kristina Rihanoff – wife attack and heartache

Former rugby player Ben Cohen is happily loved-up with former Strictly Come Dancing pro Kristina Rihanoff, after they got together in 2014.

But their romance has been anything but plain sailing.

They were partnered together on the 2013 series of Strictly, while he was married to Abby Blayney, with whom he shares twin daughters Harriette and Isabelle.

He and Abby had been married since 2003 and got divorced in 2016.

After the BBC series came to an end, Ben and Abby split up and it emerged that he had started a relationship with Russian pro Kristina.

They became some of the poster stars for the so-called Strictly Curse, which has fans speculating on who will hook-up with who every year.

And although their romance hasn't been easy at times, they're still going strong.

Ex-wife attack

Back in 2015 after Ben and Kristina's romance had been announced, Abby didn't hold back in sharing her thoughts and went on a foul-mouthed rant in an interview.

She told The Sun at the time: "My husband, who I was with for 23 years, unconditionally loved and was completely loyal to in every respect, has left me for a [explicit] Russian dancer.

"The last two years have been the most traumatic thing to ever happen to me. He's done the dirty on me. I want people to know."

She later said in 2019: "I'm not healed, I'll never get over it but you just have to, I spent four years moping around crying – it's poisonous.

"I spent a fortune on psychics because I wanted an answer but you won't find one and you're always asking why, it's the worst feeling, I look back to when it first happened to me.

"I can't even mentally go there, I will never get over what happened, but I've learnt to cope with it and I've developed strategies that have helped me to try to mend myself."


Abby has since found love with her partner David Warner, and spoke out again on Ben moving on without her.

However this time she gave a much more measured response, and admitted she regretted her harsh words.

She told New Magazine: "At the time of the break-up, when hugely stressed, I once angrily referred to Ben's partner as a 'f***ing Russian dancer' to a journalist hassling me. I regret that now.

"I'm happier in my own skin and I'm not that broken girl who used to be married to a famous rugby player."

Baby heartache

Ben and Kristina welcomed their first child together – a baby girl called Milena – in January 2016.

Abby previously opened up about her ex's baby news and admitted she "could ever imagine getting through this hell" – but is grateful she did.

She told OK! magazine: "It took a few years to find any clarity, with peaks and troughs along the way."

She went on: "In 2016, there was the announcement that Ben was to become a father again, which felt like a dagger.

"I couldn’t imagine ever getting through this hell – but I did. And if I can, anyone can."

Avoiding awkward run-ins

Abby admitted that she hadn't seen Kristina since Ben had been on Strictly, despite living in the same town.

But she did praise Ben on his co-parenting of their teenage twins Hariette and Isabelle.

Abby said: "Ben and Kristina live in my home town but I haven’t seen her since the show.

"Yet he’s always remained a dedicated father. When we hand over the kids I sometimes see a little of the old Ben and it makes me feel sad. But I breathe deeply and get on with my day. That was my old life, now I have something new."

Loved-up displays

Despite being more loved-up than ever, Ben and Kristina rarely pose together on social media.

However over the year since they got together, they've been seen at a number of fancy showbiz events.

Back in September, Kristina gushed over her boyfriend for his birthday.

She wrote: "Happy birthday Ben.

"Thank you for being my partner in life in business in tough times and in good times. While the road is rocky sometimes there is no one else I'd rather have by my side, love you."

She added the hashtags "my love", "my everything", "my family" and "love you".

Back to business

Since quitting Strictly, blonde beauty Kristina started a yoga business – however she was worried about its future last year in the midst of the pandemic.

She trained as a yoga instructor after she left Strictly, and was left fuming as her new venture wasn't given a grant.

Kristina tweeted Rishi Sunak in May 2020: "I emailed your office three weeks ago asking who and why made a decision that businesses over 51k in rates don't get grants.

"My yoga centre gets zero and it's a family-owned business! Who decided that I'm not worthy of help?"

Kristina's yoga studio is based in Northamptonshire and she also offers health and nutrition advice, as well as hot yoga, hatha, vinyasa, pre- and post-natal yoga, classes for kids and families and those with mobility issues too.

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