Stacey Dooley rubbishes claims she's behind Kevin Clifton's 'Strictly' departure

Stacey Dooley leaves the Village Hotel Club Watford the morning after winning the Strictly Come Dancing 2018 final. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)

Stacey Dooley has hit back at claims she was behind Kevin Clifton's decision to leave Strictly Come Dancing.

The professional dancer announced he would be parting ways from the show after seven years to focus on other things, but tabloid reports on Friday suggested his girlfriend Dooley had "pushed" him to quit.

The journalist retweeted an article's headline, captioning the post: "Honestly, we knew this would happen. And so it starts, again......Utter nonsense."

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Dooley and Clifton were partnered together on the 2018 series of the dance show and went on to win before entering into a relationship after the programme had come to an end.

Clifton announced he would be leaving the programme in a statement shared on Friday.

In a post to his social accounts, he wrote: "To the entire Strictly family, The past 7 years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special.

"Since first being called 'Kevin From Grimsby' by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of five finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley."

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton leave BBC Broadcasting House in London after appearing on the Chris Evans radio show. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

He went on to thank his colleagues as well as those behind the scenes before dubbing Strictly the "best show on tv".

Strictly's official Twitter account delivered a message shortly afterwards, remarking that Clifton would be "hugely missed" by the "Strictly family" as well as fans.