Ben Cohen’s ex-wife Abby has revealed that the infamous ‘Strictly curse’ did her a “favour” despite her marriage falling apart after the show.
Ben, a former rugby player, was cast on Strictly Come Dancing when he was still married. He was paired up alongside professional dancer Kristina Rifanoff.
Abby and Ben had been childhood best friends and enjoyed a 23 year-long relationship. They also shared their twin daughters Hariette (and Isabelle) together.
Abby’s marriage was broken when Ben competed on BBC One’s hit show. The sportsman ended-up leaving Abby to become his professional partner.
After telling Abby that he was ending his marriage in September 2014, Kristina and Ben went public with their own love story.
Kristina had insisted that her and Ben didn’t begin dating until Ben’s marriage had ended.
Speaking out on the decline of her marriage, Abby confessed she can’t listen to the Strictly theme tune as it conjures up painful memories of watching her marriage “disintegrate” before her eyes.
New! magazine published an article by Abby, a mother-of-two about her long-term relationship with Ben. magazine, explaining that he’d jumped at the chance to star on Strictly as he wanted to take his career “in a different direction”.
However, the mother-of-three said she now regrets the decision as “strictly, showbiz and all the sequins” caused the breakdown of her marriage.
Abby attended the live Strictly shows where she was seen cheering on her ex-husband, but the mum admitted she felt “terrified” as she watched the athlete perform saucy dance routines with Kristina.
Looking back at herself during Ben’s Strictly stint, Abby said she didn’t recognise the “frightened woman” sitting in the audience, but admitted the show “did me a favour in the long run”.
After eight weeks of losing the public vote, Ben and Kristina were kicked off the show.
Abby revealed she was left fighting for her marriage “for months” following his departure from the show as they were “growing in different directions”.
Tragically, Abby suffered two breakdowns after Ben told her she was leaving her in September 2014.
She recalled: “I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I often couldn’t get out of bed,” she recalled, adding that she also had debilitating panic attacks that left her lying on the floor sweating.”
Abby was left heart-broken again when Ben and Kristina announced they had welcomed a daughter, Mila, into the world.
The mother had started to feel better after she left her old home and brought her daughters with.
However, Abby has become much happier since her marriage with Ben and has been able to “break the cycle of obsessing over what had happened”.
Abby has pursued photography and even landed a job as a co-host on The Updaters, an Amazon Prime show.
Abby said: “Ben doesn’t really know the person I’ve become – but I prefer her! I’m happier in my own skin and I’m not the broken girl who used to be married to a famous rugby player.”
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