Kevin Clifton has said he and Stacey Dooley were “like a machine” on Strictly Come Dancing.
The dancer and the TV presenter won the BBC One show in a moment “I’ll never forget” and are now a couple.
Clifton, 36, said of Dooley, 32: “She’s got an incredible work ethic … After week two, when we were down in the bottom (of the leaderboard), Stacey said ‘I need to put more hours in because I don’t want to go out really early.’
“The two of us together just became a machine…”
He tells his new podcast: “We started doing 14 hours a day. It was pure focus. Her improvement went through the roof.”
He recalled “a moment” on the 2018 show before the final – “the first time I’d seen her quite defeated”.
“There was something different in me … I said ‘I think you’re right. Ashley (Roberts) and Faye (Tozer) are dancers and have been dancing for years and are brilliant. Joe (Suggs) is probably going to win, but it’s 99%.
“‘There’s 1% in me that says we’ve got a chance. If that 1% exists we have to give it everything we’ve got.’
“There was something more in me that was like, I don’t want to see Stacey like this … and I feel like I need to win.”
Clifton said he has been “riddled with insecurity” despite his Strictly victory.
The dancer tells The Kevin Clifton Show he had “constant imposter syndrome, constant anxiety” and that the insecurity “showed up” in relationships.
“My opinions and self-worth is based on what my partner thinks of me so then I’ve ended up going ‘We’ve got to do whatever you like to do … because please like me.
“I left Broadway to dance in a theme park purely because of what someone else wanted … I think I’m just starting to understand it better and get more of a hold on it.”