Former rugby union player Ben Cohen has said his bond with Kristina Rihanoff has been “strengthened” by “difficult times in business” ahead of their nuptials.
Cohen met Rihanoff when they were partnered on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2013. He proposed to her in the Maldives last October and they are looking at having their ceremony in Tuscany or Oxfordshire.
Cohen, 44, who was a member of the England team that won the 2003 Rugby World Cup, told Hello! magazine: “Over the last nine years we’ve been through the wringer.
“Our working days are always full throttle and for so long we’ve been in our own bubble.
“Now I’m looking forward to having a get-together with loved ones. Most of all I’m happy to be doing this with Kristina.
“To support each other through difficult times in business is the ultimate test in a relationship. I’ve watched her flourish, from her becoming a mum to growing as a businesswoman, and it has strengthened our bond.”
For their wedding, their daughter Mila, six, and Cohen’s twins from a previous relationship, Harriette and Isabelle, both 15, will be bridesmaids.
“Mila can’t wait,” said Rihanoff. “She’s already told me what she’s going to wear. ‘I want this kind of dress, Mummy, with a long train like you will have,’ she tells me. She certainly knows her own mind.”
Russian professional dancer Rihanoff competed on celebrity dance show Strictly for eight series between 2008 and 2015.
The couple also want to have a party at private members’ club Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds.
The full interview with Rihanoff can be read in Hello! magazine, out on Monday.