Olympic chamption Christopher Dean grows close to Karen after her marriage break-up

Dancing On Ice mentor Karen Barber and co-star Christopher Dean are dating.

The pair were snapped kissing outside a restaurant near the show’s studios last week.

‘We have been great friends for more than 30 years,’ explains Karen, 49.

‘Following recent media speculation, we feel the necessity to confirm that this year has seen a change in our relationship, but we are taking things very slowly…’

Karen has confirmed her marriage to Dancing trainer Stephen Pickavance is over. The couple have two daughters – Emma, 17, and Laura, 19.

Chris, 52, was married to French-Canadian World ice dance champion Isabelle Duchesnay for two years in the 1990s. He separated from second wife Jill Trenary in March last year.

The American skater is mum to his two sons – Jack, 13, and Sam, 11, who live in the US.

Last night, Dancing On Ice saw both Peter Andre‘s new girlfriend Elen Rivas and Craig McLachlan voted off the show after their dance-off against Jennifer Metcalfe.

Former EastEnders hunk Sam Attwater topped the judges’ leaderboard after his smooth, show-stopper of a performance to Flo Rida‘s hit Club Can’t Handle Me.

Karen Barber | Dancing On ice | New | Pictures | Photos

SEE PICTURES Dancing On Ice 2010 contestants>>

SEE PHOTOS Dancing On Ice 2010 contestants show off their costumes>>

SEE PICTURES Dancing On Ice contestants 2009>>