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Strictly's Aliona Vilani confirms legal action against Johnny Ball over injury claims

The pair were partnered up in the 2012 series of the BBC dance show

by Gemma Strong

Former Strictly Come Dancing pro Aliona Vilani has confirmed she is taking legal action against Johnny Ball, after he suggested that she lied about injuring herself when they were partnered together in the 2012 series. Aliona, 33, was forced to withdraw in the very early stages of the 10th series of Strictly due to injury, and Johnny was then paired with Iveta Lukosiute, with the pair subsequently becoming the first couple to leave the competition. During an appearance on Good Morning Britain earlier this month, Johnny – father of It Takes Two host Zoe Ball – spoke about his time on the programme, and remarked: "Aliona supposedly broke her leg. She did not at all."

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Johnny, 79, also alleged that Aliona "went to the south of France with her boyfriend" the following weekend, adding: "I got a new pro dancer who… we went out [of the competition], and her contract finished two days later." He then joked: "50 years in television this year, and I think it ends now."

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Now, Aliona has hit back, taking to Twitter on Tuesday to issue a response. "I am aware that Johnny Ball has made allegations regarding my fractured ankle during 2012 SCD, which I strongly deny," her statement read. "I have instructed solicitors and am taking legal action in relation to his allegations. It's therefore not appropriate to comment further at this time."

Aliona first appeared on Strictly in 2009 when she was partnered with Rav Wilding. She then teamed up with Matt Baker, with the pair finishing as runners up, followed by Harry Judd, who she won with, Tony Jacklin, and then Masterchef's Gregg Wallace. In 2015 she appeared with The Wanted's Jay McGuiness, with the pair going on to win the show, making her the first professional to win the competition twice.

In June this year, Aliona welcomed her first baby, daughter Bella, with her husband Vincent Kavanagh, and the pair proudly introduced their newborn to the world exclusively in HELLO!. "I feel so lucky," Aliona said of Bella. "We genuinely feel so blessed and happy. We got lucky. She's very chilled. Vincent is, too – as am I when I'm not working. They say a baby is often more calm if the parents are, too."

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