The pair were paired together for the 2013 series and Ben has since split with his wife, sparking accusations that Kristina was a “homewrecker”.
“I don’t want to talk about that or put anything out there which will stir things up,” says Ben, who has launched a fragrance, Ben Cohen Eau de Toilette, for Superdrug. “All I know is I’m true to myself and true to my children. It’s a tough time, but as long as my children are OK I don’t really care about anything else.
“I feel I’ve been bullied in the press recently which isn’t nice, it’s damaging, and it can make you feel isolated.”
Kristina Rihanoff and Ben Cohen performing ahead of the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour (Rui Vieira/PA)
The former rugby player went on: “I feel very fortunate. I’m an easy going person who thrives on hard work and I’m happy. I don’t have any regrets because I don’t think you can think like that. You can always wish you’d done things differently, but life is what it is. I try to be a nice person, do good things, work hard and be a good dad to my kids. It’s all I can do.”
Ben suffers from hearing loss in both ears and said of dancing on Strictly: “The tinnitus can be really loud and drown out other sounds and with my poor hearing on top, it meant I couldn’t actually hear the beats of the music, vital so you can time the moves. I had to do everything by memory.
Ben is now launching his own fragrance (Matt Alexander/PA)
“I remember when Kristina and I were introduced, she turned to me and said, ‘I understand you can’t dance and you can’t hear – great!’ I actually never led her once in a dance – I just had to follow her whispered instructions but it was incredible fun.
“It’s about losing your inhibitions, letting your guard down and not worrying about being in all those over-the-top costumes and just having fun.”