Rachel Riley marries Strictly lover Pasha Kovalev in secret ceremony in Las Vegas

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RACHEL Riley has married Strictly lover Pasha Kovalev in a secret ceremony in Las Vegas, The Sun can reveal.

The pregnant Countdown star, 33, and Pasha, 39, who met on the dance show, kept friends and family in the dark.

Rachel Riley, 33, and Strictly’s Pasha Kovalev, 39, have wed in secret
Getty – Contributor

The couple eloped to Las Vegas on Friday after previously insisting they had no plans to wed.

But sources insist their relatives are “delighted” at them becoming the second pair to marry after meeting on BBC show Strictly.

One said: “They wanted to ensure it was just the two of them and everything was kept as quiet as possible.

“They did it in complete secrecy — even most of their friends and family had no idea they were going there to get married.

Handout

The couple first met on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013[/caption]

Marriage certificate for Rachel Annabelle Riley and Pavel Kovalev
Marriage certificate for Rachel Annabelle Riley and Pavel Kovalev

“By keeping everything a closely guarded secret, they pulled it off and surprised their loved ones. Naturally, everyone is delighted.”

Rachel, 33, was partnered with pro dancer Pasha, 39, on series 11 of Strictly in 2013, but they were eliminated in week five.

Weeks later, Rachel announced she was splitting from husband Jamie Gilbert after 16 months of marriage having fallen victim to the so-called Strictly curse.

Ex-Corrie actor Jimi Mistry, 46, and dancer Flavia Cacaca, 39, also married — three years after they were partnered on the show in 2010. But Oxford graduate Rachel has dismissed the curse and said the show is a “magnifying glass that shows up pre-existing fault lines”.

Rachel announced on Countdown in May she was pregnant with anagram'R TINY MATE'
Rachel announced on Countdown in May she was pregnant with anagram ‘R TINY MATE’
The Countdown star with flowers for her and a baby grow for'baby Kovalev'
The Countdown star with flowers for her and a baby grow for ‘baby Kovalev’

And in 2017 she said she had no plans to marry, adding: “I am in love now. I don’t feel I have to get married. I don’t think I need that pressure any more.

“I feel settled. I don’t feel the need to do it again. If I’m with someone and I’m happy, that’s enough.”

She announced last month on Channel 4 show Countdown that she is expecting her first child with Pasha by displaying the letters “R TINY MATE” — an anagram of “maternity”.

Records show they got a marriage licence in Clark Country, Nevada, which includes Vegas, on June 25.

Pasha quit Strictly earlier this year after eight series but Rachel has dismissed the'curse'
Pasha quit Strictly earlier this year after eight series but Rachel has dismissed the ‘curse’
WENN
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev share a passionate kiss at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland VIP Launch in 2014
Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev share a passionate kiss at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland VIP Launch in 2014
Gotcha Images Ltd


They married in a chapel in the city three days later.

Russian Pasha, who married under his real name Pavel, quit Strictly in February after eight series to focus on his relationship and look for “new challenges”.

Their wedding came eight days after moped thugs snatched his phone from his hand outside Sadler’s Wells Theatre in central London.

A source told The Sun: “The pair drove at him aggressively and totally disorientated him. He was knocked off balance and very upset.”

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