'Dancing on Ice' star Christopher Dean tonight confirmed he is dating a woman who works on the popular ITV show.
Mr Dean, 52, who appears on the talent show with his former Olympic skating partner Jayne Torvill, issued a joint statement to the media after photographs of him kissing former skating professional Karen Barber appeared in a national newspaper.
Miss Barber, 49, is a former judge on the show and now helps mentor celebrities appearing on the programme.
Tonight, the pair issued a statement saying: “We have been great friends for more than 30 years.
“Following recent media speculation, we feel the necessity to confirm that this year has seen a change in our relationship, but we are taking things very slowly, as it is early days.
“We’d very much like to thank our dear friends, who have been so incredibly supportive to us.
“We both have families with children, so we ask the media to please respect their privacy.”
Mr Dean split from his second wife Jill Trenary last year.
He and Miss Barber issued the statement on the eve of the second episode of the show’s new run.
Last week Angela Rippon and Nadia Sawalha’s skating skills failed to impress as they became the first celebrities to leave the qualifying rounds of the new series of 'Dancing On Ice'.
The pair were the first casualties of two special knock-out shows to whittle down the 16 contestants to 12 before the competition begins.
The show is broadcast tomorrow evening.