Strictly Come Dancing professionals Katya and Neil Jones have announced that they have split up after 11 years together.
The pair – who have been married since 2013, and dated for five years previously – revealed the news in a joint statement, just weeks before they’re both due to return to Strictly for this year’s series.
Neil and Katya Jones (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
“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,” they said.
“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.”
They added: “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.”
A representative for the couple also stated that the break-up was a recent decision, shutting down the suggestion it was based on the scandal they found themselves at the centre of during last year’s Strictly.
Katya and Neil on this year's Strictly professionals tour (Photo: SOPA Images via Getty Images)
“It would be incorrect and unfair to attribute their separation to one isolated incident,” they said, via
Katya made headlines during last year’s series when she was caught on camera kissing her celebrity partner, comedian
Seann Walsh, during a night out.
At the time, she insisted that the incident was
not a reflection on her relationship with Neil, and the pair later said that they were keen to start a family. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.
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The former goalkeeper was one of the first three celebrities on the line-up confirmed to be taking part in Strictly during an appearance on The One Show.
He's joked that his one request for taking part is some very high Cuban heels, telling PA: "The probability is I’m going to get a tall [dancing partner]. There is a physical requirement there." David also remarked that he's excited to get into the regimental training that Strictly requires, something he's missed since putting his football days behind him. More Story continues Chris Ramsey – comedian
Best known for his work as a stand-up, Chris was confirmed alongside David James during an appearance on The One Show.
During his comedy career he's made plenty of TV appearances, including presenting shows like Virtually Famous and I'm A Celebrity: Extra Camp, as well as his own show on Comedy Central and acting in the BBC sitcom Hebburn. He's also been at the centre of controversy, namely when he was thrown off the live Sky Sports show Soccer AM after making an off-colour joke. Let's see whether he'll behave himself when the Strictly live shows roll round... More Emma Barton – actress
Soap fans will probably recognise Emma – who was the third and final celebrity confirmed during that bumper One Show interview – from her role of Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, which she's played on and off since November 2005.
Following in the footsteps of Kellie Bright and Jake Wood, Emma will remain in EastEnders while taking part in Strictly, which means she has a very hectic few months ahead of her. A graduate of the Guildford School Of Acting, Emma has appeared on stage in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Grease and Chicago, in which she played Roxie Hart in a touring UK production. More Saffron Barker – vlogger
Following in the footsteps of 2018 finalist Joe Sugg, this Brighton-born 19-year-old is the second YouTuber to take to the Strictly dance floor.
Saffron started vlogging in July 2015, and since then has amassed more than two million followers on YouTube, even landing her own range at Primark. She told her followers days after the announcement: "I think my [dancing] partner is going to hate me, because I will not want to leave that training studio. I want to work my absolute socks off, be the absolute best that I can be. I'm so excited for everybody to come on this journey with me." More Catherine Tyldesley – actress
Catherine had long been rumoured for Strictly, ever since it was announced that she was stepping down from her Coronation Street role of Eva Price after seven years in 2018.
She follows a long line of former Corrie stars who have taken part in Strictly, including Georgia May Foote and Natalie Gumede, both of whom made it to the final in their series. While she admits she's "nervous as hell" as she's "not much of a dancer", Catherine says: "I’ve always wanted to learn the skill and the time feels right. Hold onto your jazz shoes... mine is sure to be a bumpy/clumsy/fun ride." More Mike Bushell – presenter
Next to be confirmed for the line-up was sports presenter Mike Bushell, who is probably best known as a member of the BBC Breakfast team.
He follows past and present Breakfast colleagues including Bill Turnbull, Susanna Reid, Naga Munchetty, Carol Kirkwood and former winner Chris Hollins onto the hit ballroom show. Mike said: "I may have tried and profiled over 500 sports over the years in my Saturday morning BBC Breakfast slot but think the Strictly challenge could be the greatest. Bring on the glitter!" More Karim Zeroual – presenter
Karim was the seventh person announced for the line-up, and is best known for his work on CBBC.
Promising he wants to throw himself into the experience head-first, he said: "I want THE LOT… the skimpiest of clothes, the widest of flares, the brightest of colours and the tallest Cuban heel a guy can find!" Interestingly, with no singers to spark the usual "dance experience" headlines, it might be Karim that finds himself on the receiving end of them this year, as he started out as a child star on the West End, appearing in The Lion King and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. More Viscountess Emma Weymouth – aristocrat and chef
Described by the BBC as a "businesswoman, chef, model and philanthropist", Viscountess Emma can now add "Strictly contestant" to her CV too.
She's probably best known for her relationship with Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, after which she became the chatelaine of the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire, where she later launched Emma's Kitchen. Emma is also a contributing editor at British Vogue, so it's fair to say she's got plenty to keep her busy. More Michelle Visage – reality star
Unquestionably the signing we're most looking forward to seeing on this year's series, Michelle is best known as RuPaul's right-hand woman on the international reality smash Drag Race, where she can always be relied upon for some tough love aimed at the competing queens.
Michelle previously appeared on Celebrity Big Brother during what was probably the Channel 5 show's most explosive series (the less said about her friendship with Katie Hopkins the better, though), and more recently sat alongside Denise Van Outen and Louis Walsh on the Ireland's Got Talent panel. Her stint on Strictly will coincide with the arrival of the British series of RuPaul's Drag Race, which debuts on BBC Three this October. More Will Bayley – Paralympic table tennis player
This gold medal-winning Paralympian says he hopes to inspire people who have a disability with his time on Strictly, noting: "That would mean a lot to me. I want to prove to people I can do this."
He added: "I’m so proud to be on the show, it’s my family’s favourite show. I have no dance experience at all, but I hope I can do well." Will bagged a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, and is currently training for next year's games in Tokyo. More Jamie Laing – reality star
This long-standing Made In Chelsea cast member was not someone we were expecting to see on the Strictly Come Dancing line-up, as the show has previously stayed away from casting reality stars, with the brief exception of TOWIE's Mark Wright back in 2014.
He joked: "I am beyond thrilled to be asked to be on Strictly, the only person potentially more thrilled is my mother. I have finally become the son she hoped for!" As well as being one of Made In Chelsea's longest-serving stars, Jamie is also a businessman, and appeared on Celebrity Hunted alongside co-star Spencer Matthews. More Alex Scott – former footballer and sports pundit
The 12th star confirmed for this year's sports-heavy line-up was Alex Scott, best known as a former England Lioness and a presenter during the World Cup coverage, most notably on Match Of The Day.
She said Strictly is the show she's "always wanted to do", adding: "I’m super excited, but also terrified at the same time… The football pitch is a bit less glam than the ballroom, but I’m ready to try the sequins and dresses! Bring it on!" More Dev Griffin – radio DJ
Dev has been a presenter on Radio 1 for the last 10 years, having begun his career in children's TV before landing a job on Radio 1Xtra.
He told his listeners: "I want to tell you a little story. In 1996 I entered a dance competition at the Pontins Holiday Park. I tried my very best. I danced to MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This. I was slighted, I came second and I swore retribution. “As as I walked away from those Red Coats I said: ‘One day I’m going to take part in a dance competition and get really good and you will rue the day you slighted me’. Fast-forward to 2019 I’m going to be on this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing. I swore attribution because I’m coming.” More James Cracknell – Olympic rower
The two-time gold medallist was announced as the 14th star on the Strictly line-up during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
He said: "I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year. Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment."
Interestingly, it comes just a few months after he announced his separation from his wife of 17 years, who reports previously suggested had been
against him taking part in the BBC dance show
More Anneka Rice – TV presenter
After initially being rumoured for Strictly in 2018, Anneka was eventually the final celebrity confirmed to be taking part in this year's run.
She said: "I haven’t danced since I was seven and Miss Beer sent me home from my ballet class because I was hopelessly uncoordinated. My family and friends haven’t seen me dance since, not at a wedding or round a handbag so it’s going to be a challenge for my partner. In fact I’ve asked for two, one on each side." She added: "I can’t see myself in a long frilly dress either. But I’m feeling recklessly excited. Strictly has always been my Autumn’s entertainment and now I’m part of it! My children will probably leave the country." More This article originally appeared on HuffPost.