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Debbie McGee responds to rumours of romance with Strictly's Giovanni Pernice

Paul Daniels' widow has been making waves in the BBC dance competition

by Gemma Strong

Debbie McGee has responded to reports she's having a secret romance with her Strictly partner Giovanni Pernice. The 58-year-old, who has wowed both the judges and the audience with her moves on the dance floor, admitted she was flattered by the rumours, but insisted there is no truth in them. "I absolutely adore him and I have no doubt that he adores me," Debbie said of 27-year-old Giovanni, in an interview with Bella magazine. "We have a great working dance partnership and we really love each other as human beings, so I can see why people want to say there is something going on." But, she said, their relationship remains utterly professional. "We have great chemistry and love dancing together. But there's nothing going on."

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Debbie McGee has been romantically linked to her Strictly dance partner Giovanni Pernice

Debbie, whose husband Paul Daniels passed away last year, said she thought it was a big compliment that people think Giovanni, who is 30 years her junior, could be interested in her. "For a woman of my age, it makes me feel fantastic," she said. "To be nearly 60 and have people think I'd be having an affair with such a good-looking Italian is good for one's confidence!"

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Debbie's comments come days after she wowed the Strictly judges by performing a standing splits during her Cha Cha with Giovanni. Viewers flocked to Twitter to praise the supple star, with one writing: "Debbie McGee just raised her leg at a 180 degree angle at the age of 58, while I still remain unable to do more than 1 burpee #Strictly." A second added: "Debbie stretching her leg that far in the air. I can't even get my arms that far! Good on ya girl!"

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