Neil and Katya Jones split months after Seann Walsh Strictly kissing scandal

Harriet Brewis

Neil and Katya Jones have announced their separation after 11 years together.

The Strictly pair, who celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary earlier this month, said the decision to split was mutual.

The couple were thrown into the spotlight ht last year when Katya was pictured sharing a kiss with her then Strictly dance partner Seann Walsh on a night out.

The incident led to the pair performing a "dance of shame" on the following episode, as the media scrutinised another instance of the so-called Strictly curse.

Neil and Katya, who stayed together after the scandal, have insisted the kiss was not the reason for their split.

The pair were snapped kissing on a night out last year (BBC)

In an official statement released today, the couple said their relationship had mellowed into a friendship.

In a joint statement they said: "As our fans and loyal supporters you are really important to us and so we wanted to let you know some news.

"After 11 years, we have made the mutual decision to separate.

"We will always love each other, just in a different way as friends. This will never change what a great team we make and we are really proud of everything we have achieved together.

"Our shared love of dance means we will keep working and dancing together as well as exploring individual projects. No matter what we do we will always support and respect each other.

"We wish one another every happiness and we will remain the best of friends. We are really looking forward to getting back to the ballroom and can't wait to keep on dancing.

"Lots of love from us both."

A spokeswoman for the pair clarified that their decision to part was not influenced by the controversy surrounding Walsh.

Stating that the decision was made recently, a spokeswoman said: "It would be incorrect and unfair to attribute their separation to one isolated incident.

"Many people make such a decision to separate when they realise that their relationship has become more of a friendship.

"They remain the very best of friends and will continue to dance together."

The dancers said they'd remain the best of friends (Dave Benett)

The dancers added that their professional lives and their careers on Strictly would not be affected by the split.

She said: "They're incredible close, they are still dance partners, will be dancing together and will work on joint projects together as well as being part of the Strictly team and will continue to give each other advice and support in any individual projects."

Speaking in March 2019, the couple told Lorraine Kelly that they had moved on from the incident.

Neil said regarding the public and media attention surrounding the kiss: "For me, I felt they overreacted."

Katya said: "We're over it, I think everyone else is over it, let's just move on."

In August 2019, the pair posted on their social media accounts celebrating six years of marriage.

Neil said he was still "jumping with joy".

Seann Walsh and Rebecca Humphries before their split (Instagram: Rebecca Humphries)

But Seann's relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries broke down in the wake of the infamous kiss.

Rebecca, who had been dating Seann for five years announced the split in an emotional Twitter statement.

Revealing the incident had taken place on the night of her birthday, which she spent "alone at home", she insisted she was "not a victim".

She said wanted to use her voice to appeal to any other woman who has felt “worthless and trapped with a man they love”.