STRICTLY champion Oti Mabuse has begged BBC bosses to pair her with an older celebrity after her close friendship with Kelvin Fletcher came into question.
The professional dancer, 29, was pictured on a number of nights out earlier this year with Kelvin – who The Sun revealed had sent a string of X-rated messages to a sexy blonde behind his wife’s back during his time on the show.
Oti, who won the 2019 series with Kelvin, 36, told Strictly staffers she didn’t want her career to fall victim to the curse.
A TV insider said: “After Kelvin’s messages were revealed, Oti tried to distance herself publicly from him.
“She’s good friends with Kelvin but this experience has made her panic about the brand she has built.
“Oti asked that she be paired with someone older in the next series to stop any speculation about the nature of their relationship.
“Being linked to a scandal is the last thing Oti wanted and she never wants it to happen again.
“Obviously she won with Kelvin but as competitive as Oti is, she’s not happy with any links to the ‘curse’.”
Older stars who’ve previously appeared on the show include John Sergeant, 75, and 78-year-old TV presenter David Dickinson.
Since she joined Strictly in 2015, Oti became an overnight hit and along with Strictly, the BBC signed her up as a coach on The Greatest Dancer – their primetime Saturday night TV show.
Oti is happily married to dancer Marius Lapure, who she wed in 2012.
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