Strictly Katya Jones’ fling with Seann Walsh – divorce, sex joke and health woes
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Katya Jones and Seann Walsh made headlines back in 2018, when the famous ‘Strictly curse’ hit them with full force.
Professional dancer Katya was paired with comedian Seann for the 2018 series of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, and the pair enjoyed spending time together so much that they headed to the pub following a tough dance rehearsal.
Afterwards, the duo were papped in the street sharing a kiss – which kickstarted a major media frenzy.
Both Katya and Seann were in relationships at the time.
Katya married her Strictly co-star and dance partner Neil Jones back in 2013, while Seann was in a relationship with actress Rebecca Humphries.
Both separated from their respective partners after the incident, with rumours circulating that Katya and Neil have since divorced.
We take a look at the kiss that rocked the Strictly studios and the legacy it left.
The kiss wasn’t the only proof that Seann and Katya had chemistry – though witnesses claimed they were "snogging like a pair of teenagers."
It was further claimed that the pair had been spotted exchanging kisses inside the pub numerous times before the cameras caught them at it.
The pair were leaving the Duke of York in Marylebone at the time, as a witness explained: "They were snogging like a pair of teenagers and didn’t seem to care who might see them."
An insider further claimed that the chemistry was instant since Seann made his Strictly debut, explaining: "Seann and Katya hit it off from day one. They are always laughing and messing around, and are incredibly tactile with each other.
"It hasn't gone unnoticed by cast and crew but no one expected this. It's going to cause real ructions backstage not least because Katya and Neil have to work alongside each other week in, week out."
A regular claimed that they looked like a "normal couple" as they were "really comfortable with each other" and came into the pub every night that week.
Just days after news of the kiss emerged, Seann found himself dumped in a spectacularly public fashion by his girlfriend Rebecca.
In a brutal public statement, the actress wrote: "Hello there, My name is Rebecca Humphries and I am not a victim.
"I wasn't sure whether to respond to events from the past week, but I feel the narrative has missed a couple of crucial elements that I would like to clear up.
"It’s incredibly good of Seann and Katya to apologise in the media. I have received nothing, other than the support of my family, friends, and a host of strangers on the internet who all wanted to make sure I was OK.
"What I have also kindly received are many offers to sell my side of the story, but I would prefer for it to be on my own terms.
"Those pictures were taken on October 3, it was my birthday. I was alone at home when Seann texted at 10pm saying the two of them were going for one innocent drink.
"We spoke, and I told him, not for the first time, that his actions over the past three weeks had led me to believe something inappropriate was going on,” she added.
The star added: "He aggressively and repeatedly called me a psycho/nuts/mental. As he has done countless times throughout our relationship when I’ve questioned his inappropriate, hurtful behaviour.
"But – this whole business has served to remind me that I am a strong, capable person who is now free: and no victim.
"I have a voice and will use it by saying this to any woman out there who deep down feels worthless and trapped with a man they love: Believe in yourself and your instincts.
"It's more than lying. It's controlling. Tell some very close friends who, if they’re anything like my wonderful network, will swoop in and take care of the logistics and of you.
"It’s important also to recognise that in these situations those who hold power over you are insecure and fragile and the need for control comes from a place of vulnerability. I think it certainly does in Seann’s case.
"Despite everything I hope he gets what he wants from this. I'm not sorry I took the cat, though."
Katya, meanwhile, insisted on spin-off show It Takes Two that her marriage was "secure" – however, the news announced a year later that they were in the process of divorcing.
However, their split seemed more amicable than Seann and Rebecca’s.
A statement released by the pair said it was a "mutual decision", and the couple insisted the kissing scandal had nothing to do with it.
In a joint statement, the couple announced: "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."
Seann and Katya offered a public apology during an It Takes Two appearance – though some viewers criticised them for the speech’s stilted nature.
Seann insisted cracks were already beginning to show in his relationship with Rebecca, telling host Zoe Ball: "I’m not the person I’m being portrayed as."
He went on to apologise for his behaviour, explaining: “I made a mistake, which I’m very sorry for – sorry for the hurt that I’ve caused. You never think about the extent of the damage that you’re going to do, in a moment of, you know the mistake that you’ve made.
"I’m not perfect, far from it. Our relationship wasn’t perfect. That doesn’t mean I wanted it to end the way it finally did, and I’m very sorry for that.
"I feel it’s also important for me to say that the people that know me the most, that love me, they know that I am not the person I’m being portrayed as.
"I’m still sorry for what I did, but it’s very important for me to get that out there."
Seann went on to say that he and Katya were "getting on well" and "having fun" – and they’d "had a couple of drinks" before the kiss happened.
Katya chimed in: "Yes, obviously I apologise, and I can’t apologise enough to everyone who it hurt and involved."
However, the apology was far from the end of the story, as Seann went on to cause further ructions by including mention of the kiss in his stand-up routine.
The controversial comments came during his stage show at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as he told fans gathered at the Pleasance Dome: "I am aware they announced they are splitting up. I have no reaction.
"I will see you in hell."
He went on to joke: “On the Friday I am in the hotel so the paps can't find me – secret location, very showbiz.
"I get into bed and ask Katya to pass me the remote."
Seann quipped: "The year I've had? I can make that joke!" – and even compared his Strictly routines with Katya as "like ejaculating" and said he loved "the buzz" of it.
Clearly used to heckling from his eager audience, Seann took it in his stride when someone called out that he was a “f**king legend”, immediately firing back: "Where were you 10 months ago? I f**king needed you."
In 2020, Katya told Daily Star that the scandal was "unnecessary and overwhelming", adding: "Whatever happened, happened. I don’t have to justify myself. It’s my life, my business.
"It made me realise who I am, what I’m made of."
She went on to say that she is "no longer in touch with Seann".
‘Year of hell’ and health battle
Katya told The Sun that the aftermath of the kiss was "hell" – but thankfully seems to have since moved on from the controversy.
She said: "Of course certain things made it hell, all the attention – and I think for two weeks Brexit was forgotten! I'm happy to talk about it now – it doesn't affect me, it doesn't affect who I am.
"It was mental."
Seann, meanwhile, says the kiss "destroyed his dreams" and admitted he suffers panic attacks so bad he has to lie down in the street.
Speaking on the Take Flight podcast, the comic said: "The panic attacks came back – big, big panic attacks and I ended up having what I later found out were Vertigo Seizures.
"I had one the other day, I just lay down – I had to lie down in the street, it’s quite humiliating. It’s London so nobody gives a sh**."
He went on: "It defeats me and beats me until the plates start spinning and I lose balance and fall and start screaming, so I still get them."
The star says he was "living without hope", and is now on medication to treat anxiety and depression.
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- Strictly Come Dancing
- Katya Jones
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