STRICTLY Come Dancing has been rocked by a series of bust-ups over Nadiya Bychkova’s love life, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.
Ahead of the nationwide show tour, Nadiya is said to have been the centre of “flirty” behaviour backstage.
This is said to include hitting on finalist AJ Ododu’s dance partner Kai Widdrington.
It emerged this week that 32-year-old Nadiya had become the latest victim of the show’s love curse, having secretly split from her Slovenian footballer fiance Matija Skarabot, 33.
AJ, 33 — forced to pull out of the final and tour due to an ankle injury — had been linked romantically to Kai during the last series.
A pal of the TV presenter said: “AJ and Kai got really close during the show and their chemistry was electric.
“She’s obviously gutted not to be on the tour while her ankle heals and she is shocked that Kai has already seemingly moved on by comforting Nadiya.
“Nadiya is incredibly flirty and it has certainly raised eyebrows.
“AJ was also not happy when she then heard about Nadiya flirting with her own dance partner Dan Walker.”
Nadiya was spotted without her engagement ring as she cheered herself lingerie shopping in Calvin Klein on Friday.
Last weekend Kai, 26, took her for an intimate dinner after they arrived in Birmingham for the tour.
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An onlooker said they strolled arm-in-arm into Bar Estilo and chatted for two hours before heading back to the hotel.
They added: “Nadiya looked a little down and Kai was offering his support. It was clear that they have grown very close on the show.”
Kai, whose housemate is fellow dancer Giovanni Pernice, has thrown himself into his first year on the show.
A source said: “Kai has loved being part of the series.
“He’s single and ready to mingle but hasn’t meant to break any hearts along the way.
“If there is any flirting within the team, it is after rehearsals or shows, like all the performers, he is always professional.”
Throughout last year’s series, BBC Breakfast host Dan dismissed false claims of a backstage romance.
Dan even explained that Nadiya had hugged him only to comfort him over the 10th anniversary of the death of his footballer pal Gary Speed.
Nadiya said at the time: “I was glad I was there for him.
“Sometimes you need a friend just to be there and there was nothing I could do other than be there for him.”
However a backstage source said: “Crew and some cast, including AJ, were surprised by their close relationship and how Nadiya had become so flirty with a married man in front of everyone backstage.”
Dad-of-three Dan, 44, has remained friendly with the cast, despite not taking part on the tour, and joined them for a midweek dinner in his home city of Sheffield earlier this month.
Past Strictly tours have been lively affairs with after-show parties and boozing at the hotel.
And the cast were said to have celebrated their first night on Thursday with drinks at their hotel until 1am.
There are even rumours circulating on the set of the notoriously gossipy show that dancers on a previous tour enjoyed a threesome after one alcohol-fuelled session.
A source said: “The tour is not as strict as the BBC show and everyone likes to let off steam in the hotel after the performance.
“It’s really fun and a chance for everyone to celebrate away from prying eyes.”
As recently as May, Nadiya was talking about her love for Matija.
And their relationship was still going strong at the end of September when she introduced Dan to him over FaceTime.
But in October she told the Sun on Sunday their busy schedule and Covid meant them putting wedding plans on hold.
She said: “There’s no time — it’s been full on. I will update you. But to be honest, I’ve not really thought about when we will come back to it. Because of the restrictions, I’ve put it aside for now.”
In a new interview mum-of-one Nadiya opened up about wanting to have more kids in five years time.
And asked what the one item she always packs when she travels, she cheekily answered: “My thigh high boots.”