Strictly Angela Rippon’s love life – painful marriage split to surrogate family

Strictly Come Dancing star Angela Rippon's first marriage came to a sad end and the presenter now keeps her relationships as private as she can.

The 79-year-old, who is the oldest ever contestant to take part in the BBC competition, has been wowing both the judges and fans since first setting foot on the ballroom floor. Tonight (November 11), the TV star and her professional partner Kai Widdrington will perform a Paso Doble to Madonna's Hung Up.

If the couple make it through, they will be heading to Blackpool next week. Angela has enjoyed huge success in the spotlight throughout her career as a broadcaster, but her love lift is a different story as she prefers to keep it out of the public eye.

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Plymouth-born Angela first met Christopher Dare when she was a dancer at YMCA. In 1967 at the age of 22, Angela tied the knot with the engineer at the couple lived up on Dartmoor during their marriage.

The couple, who never had children, divorced in 1989 after Christopher fell for a local divorcee named Judy. The newsreader didn't publicly address their split for more than a year but opened up about the "stressful" period in her life years later.

During an interview with Modern & Mature, she said: "It wasn't an acrimonious split. It was a stress, of course it was. It was a very stressful period for all sorts of reasons."

Despite their breakup, Angela revealed she still keeps in touch with her ex and his new partner Judy. My immediate feeling was, 'Oh God, I've failed at this'. But in fact, he and I are still good friends," the star explained. "I talk to him on the phone a couple of times a month.

"We email each other. He lives in Spain now with his partner, Judy. We exchange cards at birthdays and Christmas. Judy kind of updates me on what they're doing with their home down in Spain. It's a good relationship for all of us."

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Since the end of her marriage, the award-winning journalist has admitted to enjoying long-term relationships, but has chosen to keep them private. "I was married for 25 years and when we were parting, Christopher told me, 'I got fed up of people coming to our house all the time,' Angela told Prima in March.

"It made me realise that when you do a job that's public-facing, you have to respect the privacy of your partner. Hardly anybody – beyond my very close circle of friends – would know who my partners have been over the past several years." It is unknown how the former Come Dancing presenter has been without a partner for, but she is happy embracing life as a single woman.

She told Daily Mail in 2015: "I've discovered I'm very happy being single. I suppose, if I'm honest, when your heart is broken it's painful and I don't want to go there again."

Despite not having children of her own, Angela has been "blessed" with a godson and two "honorary" goddaughters, who are the son and daughters of her two closest friends. She previously said: "I've had young people around me. I was there when they were babies and I've seen them grow up so I feel as if I've got a kind of surrogate family.

“So much so that we were talking, a couple of years ago, about growing old. I said, 'Don't worry, darlings, when I grow old I shall look after myself.' And my godchildren who were there said: 'That's all right, Auntie Ang, we've already decided, we'll take care of you'."

Angela inherited her family home just outside Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor when her mother passed away and hosts Christmas there every year. She added: "The extended family, including my godson and his wife, always join me there for Christmas."

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