Inside Helen Skelton’s revenge romance 💃 🕺

After reports emerge of the Strictly star’s blossoming friendship with dancer Vito Coppola, an insider says her friends fear she’ll be ‘hurt’ if she rushes into a romance

Helen Skelton

by Lauren Hill-Roger |
Updated on

Her heartbreak played out before the eyes of the nation when she joined Strictly Come Dancing last year after a bitter marriage breakdown – and Helen Skelton couldn’t hold back her emotions when, ahead of the final, she tearfully told dance partner Gorka Marquez that he’d helped her to rediscover who she was.

And last week, it was revealed that behind-the-scenes, Helen – who announced her split from her husband of eight years, rugby player Richie Myler, last April – has been growing close to another professional dancer, Vito Coppola.

Helen on Strictly with Gorka ©BBC

A source revealed how Helen, 39, and Vito, 30 – who was partnered with singer Fleur East – became close during the show’s live tour, which ended last month, adding, “They spent a lot of time chatting on the bus and getting to know each other. Between shows they also spent time together one-on-one, like going for coffee, just the two of them.”

Now an insider tells Closer that while Helen is enjoying her growing connection with Vito and is feeling “loved-up” at the moment, her pals witnessed the heartbreak she experienced at the end of her marriage, and have warned her to take any new relationship slowly.

A source says, “Helen and Vito have always been close since she started training for Strictly last year, but now it looks like it’s developing into a romance. Her friends are so glad to see her happy, but they’re worried that she may end up hurt again, even though Vito is a great guy.

“She’s juggling so much at the moment with the tour and taking care of her three young children. They just hope it’s not all too much and have urged her to take it slow.

But everyone’s agreed that she deserves to be happy and have her own revenge romance.”

Vito has drawn close to Helen

Fans were shocked when Helen announced her sudden separation from Richie, 32, last year, writing on Instagram, “Very sad to say Richie and I are no longer a couple. He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co-parent our small children.” The former couple share sons Ernie, seven, Louis, five, and one-year-old Elsie – who was just four months old at the time of their split.

Light was shed on the cryptic post just weeks later when it was revealed that Richie had embarked on a new relationship with Stephanie Thirkill, 32 – daughter of the owner of Leeds Rhinos rugby club – who announced she was pregnant with Richie’s child in October.

Richie has remained silent so far, but went public with the pregnancy news last week, posting a black and white picture of him cradling Stephanie’s blossoming baby bump, as they rested their heads upon one another.

The source says, “Helen was devastated by what happened with Richie – she thought they were going to be together forever. Now he’s set up a completely new life with someone else.”

Helen met Vito on Strictly

Following the split, Helen threw herself into Strictly rehearsals and spent every spare moment she could with her young family, flying off to the Canary Islands with her children during their half-term holiday last month – leading fans to compare her to a “Bond girl” in her bikini as she hit the beach.

Helen hasn’t spoken out directly about Richie’s new relationship, but shared a picture of herself with daughter Elsie for International Women’s Day last week, captioning the sweet snap, “Not my place to tell anyone what kind of woman to be…. But I hope my little lady turns out to be one that lifts other women up”, before adding the hashtag “#actwith integrity”.

And while she’s had little time for nights out and dating, Helen revealed that after years of intense parenting, including paying her eldest son £20 to sleep in his own bed and admitting they are “terrible sleepers”, she has made a new rule to carve out some “me time” for herself.

She said, “The thing that I’m hanging on to, that I encourage everybody to do, including myself, is to tell other people when you are carving out that ‘me time’ for yourself. That’s your little backyard of protecting yourself.”

And the insider says that while Helen begins to come to terms with her ex welcoming a new child in a matter of weeks, handsome Vito has been a welcome “distraction”.

“Flirting with Vito and being on Strictly has been so brilliant for her self-confidence. If something more serious develops with him, then she’s open to it.”

closer magazine cover
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