Jay McGuiness speaks out on Strictly partner Aliona Vilani and if they’ve kept in touch

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Jay McGuiness, 30, who won Strictly Come Dancing alongside former professional dancer Aliona Vilani, 36, back in 2015, has said he will be “grateful to her forever”, after romance rumours were sparked during the final five years ago. The Wanted singer previously shut the speculation down, claiming they were “just friends” while Aliona is happily married.

Aliona was a dream partner

Jay McGuiness

The rumours came after Jay was pictured looking cosy with the dancer after they won the Glitterball trophy.

Some BBC viewers also thought they had seen the star locking lips with the Strictly pro after their win.

The pair were also photographed at the after-party on the Strictly Come Dancing tour, showing Aliona wrapping her arms around Jay’s neck in an intimate position.

The rumours were never more than speculation and Jay previously said “you have to create romance” as it is what people want to see.

Speaking to Lorraine Kelly, he shared: “I think when you dance with someone you have to create romance and people want to see that.

“No matter what I say people will say what they want. We’re just friends. Me, her and her husband and my family, we just became a big family.”

He continued: “Honestly you spend that much time together you speak about everything.

“No matter what happens you get a best friend.”

Five years later, Jay has now broken his silence and revealed he will be “grateful” to Aliona “forever”.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the dancing champion shared: “I’m so happy that it happened. Aliona was a dream partner.

“She was just the right amount of really, really tough and really, really sensitive to how I was feeling. And I’ll be 100 per cent grateful to her forever.”

Jay, however, revealed he hasn’t been in touch with Aliona very much lately, confirming they’re not as close as they once were.

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“She’s in Florida now, happy with her husband Vinnie [Kavanagh] and their absolute diamond baby,” he said. “Florida is a really intense state.”

Aliona, who left the show after performing with Jay, walked down the aisle with sales director Vincent in 2014.

He went on: “So I hope that they’re keeping safe but no, I haven’t spoken to her for a while.”

Jay was up against the likes of Peter Andre, Carol Kirkwood, Jeremy Vine and Anita Rani during the 13th series.

While reflecting on his time on the competition, Jay spoke out about who he was closest to on the show.

“Oh, I mean obviously my partner Aliona, [we were] just thick as thieves.

“I really enjoyed Aljaž [Škorjanec] and Jannette [Manrara]. I thought they were super cool people and I really like their vibe, but really it is a full-on family and I feel it’s a shame you only get to do it once.”

He concluded: “It’s quite sad, but listen, good for them. They’ve got a job of a lifetime and they deserve it.”

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