Strictly 2023 star Les Dennis donned his dancing shoes for the show’s opening episode, grooving to the Bee Gees in the group number – and back in the day he was a far bigger star than his then wife, Amanda Holden.

The show officially revealed that Les is dancing with Nancy Xu, who has previously partnered Rhys Stephenson and Will Mellor.

All the pairings were revealed in the pre-recorded opener, with the first live show starting on Saturday, September 23.

Les, 69, became a household name back in the 1970s when he won popular TV talent show New Faces and he went on to host game show Family Fortunes.

He also wed Amanda Holden, who was relatively unknown at the time, but their marriage didn’t last and the break-up left Les devastated.

So, when did the couple marry, and why did they divorce?

Let’s find out.

When did Les Dennis marry Amanda Holden?

The couple wed in 1995 in Bournemouth when Les was 40 and Amanda was 23.

They met when both were cast in a production of The Sound of Music at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Theatre in 1993, and wed two years later.

Les was a household name and the wedding was covered extensively in the press.

When did Les Dennis and Amanda Holden divorce?

In 2000, five years after their wedding, Amanda had an affair with actor Neil Morrissey.

The couple met while working on a BBC film together, Happy Birthday Shakespeare.

Les was devastated, but they decided to give their marriage a second try and reunited.

However, Les and Amanda officially split in 2002 and divorced in 2003. He said her affair left him ‘damaged’.

In 2014, on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Neil Morrissey apologised for the affair, saying: ‘I feel sorry for how emotional Les seemed to become. It was very difficult for him and for that I’m very sorry.’

When Amanda was asked by The Times 20 years after their divorce if she was looking for a father figure in Les after her own father left when she was four years old, she said she didn’t know, but there is ‘safety in a relationship like that.’

She admitted she was ‘very young’ when she married Les, and ‘had a lot to learn about life.’

Amanda went on to marry record producer Chris Hughes in 2008 and they have two daughters, Lexi, 17, and Hollie, 11.

Speaking earlier this year, Les said he now has no hard feelings towards Amanda.

He said: ‘We’re not in touch but I am happy that she’s happy,’ he said. ‘I can watch Britain’s Got Talent without getting angry.’

He told The Sunday Times: ‘To be honest it’s like watching a different person. Someone I’ve never met.’

Les added: ‘All the hurt that has happened has been healed.’

He has joked about Amanda’s affair on a podcast, quipping: ‘It would’ve been like me having to listen to Bob the Builder every night.’ Neil Morrissey famously voiced the children’s TV character.

Les is now married to former HR professional Claire Nicholson.

Les and Claire first met in 2005 at a charity event and although Les said he wasn’t looking for another relationship, they become close and wed in 2009.

They have three children – Ellie, 15 and Thomas, 12. He also shares his eldest son Phillip, 43, with his first wife Lynne Webster.

Speaking on the Full Disclosure with James O’Brien podcast, Les admitted he’s put his personal life on the back burner while married to Lynne. The couple were together for 16 years from 1974.

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