Strictly dancer Kristina Rihanoff has hit back at the man-eater rumours surrounding her with some shocking home truths, including the lowdown on Simon Webbe

Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff were totally the underdogs of the Strictly Come Dancing final this year.

After average-at-best (sorry Si!) dances at the start of the competition, they pretty much came out of nowhere during Blackpool Week and set their sights on the glitterball.

So why did it take them so long to get into the swing of things? We reckon the fact that they were dealing with so much in their personal lives could have been a factor.

Simon has already admitted that he suffered from low confidence and depression earlier this year, and Kristina had to battle claims she’d had an affair with her married partner from last year’s Strictly, Ben Cohen.

She’s now admitted that the rumours hit her hard, to the point where she wanted to pull out of the programme and even had suicidal thoughts.

‘Nothing was ever going on between me and Ben but all this blame was piled on me,’ she said. ‘It was like an assault. On Twitter I was called every name under the sun by people that had never met me, everything from home-wrecker to an ugly bitch.

‘I’ve always been strong but the abuse destroyed me emotionally. I cried for days and days and nights on end. I felt like I was in hell. Every day I had to be scraped off the floor again… Everywhere I looked it was all wrong and all dark, and I’d had enough. I wanted to quit the show, quit everything.’

And as soon as those rumours died down, talk began about Kristina‘s budding relationships with Simon! But the dancer admits that she’s about as likely to hook up with Brucie as she is with Mr Webbe.

Kristina told The Sun on Sunday: ‘I was like “Are you joking me? Who’s next? Bruce Forsyth?” Just because we’re both single, we don’t have to be dating. People think I’m this man-eater with men falling at my feet. I wish that was the case, but it’s not.’

She added: ‘I’ve heard people say I shouldn’t be paired with married men but that’s ridiculous. Jason Donovan, Colin Salmon and Goldie all stayed married after dancing with me. The thing is, whoever my partner is, I will always be there for them as a friend. You go through so much that you do bond.’

Although Kristina and Simon aren’t going to be announcing themselves as a couple any time soon, they’ve helped each other through tough times this year, and that’s a bond that Kristina thinks will last.

Simon has been brilliant – telling me not to let things get to me. The thing is, whoever my partner is, I will always be there for them as a friend. You go through so much that you do bond.’

And that goes for Ben too, whose marriage split brought so much trouble for Kristina.

Ben is a wonderful friend, who has been very supportive. He phoned to wish us both luck for the final. Why should I have to be a coward and have nothing more to do with him?’

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Victoria Joy