Following the news of Kevin Clifton’s departure from Strictly Come Dancing, Stacey Dooley is yet again having to defend herself against accusations that she’s the reason behind his decisions.
Stacey Dooley is the salsa-dancing documentary maker we all want to be friends with. Since winning Strictly Come Dancing in 2018, Dooley now continues to report on important social and global issues such as mental health, fast fashion, war and homelessness. Her latest documentary, On The Psych Ward, revealed the reality of being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Despite such an important, growing legacy of work, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Dooley’s relationships are the only stories many tabloids have been interested in over recent years. When she started dating Strictly dance partner Kevin Clifton, her ex-boyfriend decided to splash their personal details on the front page of a newspaper. Dooley – who wasn’t given a right to reply – had to remind people on Twitter that there are two sides to every story.
Now, Dooley has felt cornered into a place where she needs to defend herself once more. And it’s all to do with – you’ve guessed it – Clifton’s recent decision to leave Strictly.
If the response is anything to go by, the obvious reason for his departure is… Dooley. During an interview on This Morning earlier this week, Clifton addressed the fan reaction on social media, which saw Dooley being accused of making him quit.
“It’s always the woman’s fault, like I’m incapable of making a decision,” he said. “I did talk about it with her and she always said to me, ‘This has to be your decision. You can’t have anyone tell you what to do here. This is a big decision…’”
Now, Dooley has responded during an interview with Nihal Arthanayake on BBC Radio 5 Live. Speaking on Thursday’s (12 March) show, she talked about how being blamed for Kevin’s decisions actually “hurts”.
Dooley joked: “Kevin is obviously totally incapable of making decisions for himself, and so I swooped in…
She then continued: “As if it’s got anything to do with me, what he does for a living. I think he’s got things that are lined up that I’ll let him tell people about.
“At the start it hurts, but you have to realise it’s completely ‘story time’. There’s not an ounce of truth in what is published.”
“Initially you try and fight, but then you realise you can’t fight every day. I still have the LU2 (Luton area code) in me. I feel myself getting a bit gobby – that’s exactly what they want.”
Dooley also talked about what it’s like living with increased paparazzi in her life, revealing that she’s more “mindful” about what she posts on social media.
“I am more mindful of when I post photos – I don’t post when I’m there in real time,” she said. “It’s funny how they’ll follow me anywhere I go, except Syria, Iraq, Mosul etc.
“I hate it. It’s so frustrating. I feel like I have so much to say on things that actually matter. I’m so proud of the documentaries – we highlight such important topics. I think, ‘you could cover that and it would be so useful’. Instead they’re interested in who I fancy – I find it a bit disheartening.”
“We’re going to the tube and there will be this long, drawn out story about how we look downtrodden. We’re just going to the tube. I was just getting a sandwich. I just couldn’t imagine anyone’s interested”
And that brings us to the latest big Dooley news: a fascinating upcoming documentary of hers about hidden camera crime in South Korea.
Explaining what to expect, she said: “It’s about spy cameras – there’s a bit of an epidemic there where people put cameras in public spaces such as women’s toilets. They can live stream it, so people are online watching these women and the women have absolutely no idea that they’re being watched. When they find out that they’re all over the internet, they can’t handle the shame, as if it’s anything to do with them. In some cases, they’re killing themselves.”
It sounds like a documentary that we absolutely need to watch and learn more about, so we’ll bring you more details soon when we can share when to expect its arrival.
In the meantime, it’s fair to say that both Dooley and Clifton are forging their own successful careers. Yes, they’re supporting each other, but it’s clear they’re each doing things exactly how they want to.