Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and girlfriend Abbie Quinnen talk wedding plans after growing closer in lockdown

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For many couples, lockdown proved to be a stressful time. But for former Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Pritchard and his girlfriend Abbie Quinnen, it only brought them closer as they quarantined at AJ’s family home in Cheshire with his brother Curtis and his parents Debi and Adrian.

AJ says, “For about 16 weeks we were together 24/7 but every day was just so relaxed and so easy.”

And with some restrictions easing, the couple enjoyed a well-earned break to Turkey to soak up some sunshine, offering OK! a peek inside their romantic getaway.

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AJ, 25, started dating fellow dancer Abbie, 23, after meeting on his Get On The Floor live tour.

But Abbie admits she struggled to adjust to AJ’s fame at first and found his last series of Strictly in 2019 a real challenge due to speculation over his friendship with dance partner and YouTuber Saffron Barker.

AJ announced he had quit the show earlier this year and the couple are now looking ahead to the future, hinting it won’t be long before they walk down the aisle.

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AJ says, “We’re like that couple who see a movie or something about weddings on Instagram, then talk about whether we’d want it at ours.”

Abbie adds, "We watch a lot of Netflix’s Selling Sunset. The houses are a dream and Christine’s wedding was insane."

Here, the pair open up about the future, dealing with the downside of fame and fans sliding into their DMs…

How was your holiday?

AJ: It was beautiful and I feel tanned, healthy and back to my old self. It was so nice to go away and feel so relaxed after everything that’s happened.

Abbie: We went jet-skiing and paddle boarding…

AJ: It was a bit of a windy day when we went paddle boarding and Abbie was all over the place. She was on the board for a second or so. But it was so nice to be away. We had to wear face masks on the plane so when you got to take them off on the beach, it helps you forget about everything.

How long have you been together now?

AJ: It’s been about 15 or 16 months. Our lives are usually so busy, but it’s great because we do so much together.

How was lockdown for you both?

Abbie: I don’t usually get to see AJ so much as he works loads.

AJ: I am a bit of a workaholic. I went from Strictly to pantomime to an arena tour to then having an unexpected 16 weeks off so we were able to spend time together. What was really nice was getting out of London to Cheshire, where our neighbours are cows and sheep. And Abbie never cooked before so it was so nice to enjoy evenings making meals together. Things we didn’t usually have time for. For 16 weeks we were together 24/7 but every day was just so relaxed and so easy. That’s how you know you’re with the right person!

Abbie: For me, it was also lovely to spend so much time with AJ’s parents and Curtis. I feel like Curtis is pretty much a part of our relationship now. He’s like our child! We do everything with him.

How did you first meet?

AJ: I met Abbie when she auditioned for my dance tour. Abbie came to one audition but she got cut and then she got called back to do another on another day. And then we started doing the tour together and a few weeks in I offered her a lift from somewhere back to London. And we just talked in the car. I was so nervous!

Abbie: We’d be smiling at each other and not really saying much. I always thought he was so attractive.

AJ: We were like those shy kids at school.

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So who made the first move?

AJ: I went away for a week on holiday and when I got back I knew I wanted to take Abbie out on a date. But instead of asking her I actually asked the whole tour cast out for drinks and food. But then just sat at the end of the table with Abbie and talked to her all night.

Abbie: So it went from there!

Abbie, how did you adjust to AJ’s fame?

It was really strange at first. AJ would always tell me not to read comments online or on social media. But it was hard to begin with. Particularly during the last series of Strictly as lots of people were romanticising the idea of Saffron and AJ as a couple or saying how cute it would be for them to get together. Saffron was lovely, and I felt comfortable in our relationship, but it was still not nice to hear.

AJ: I always tell Abbie not to listen to any negative comments. There’s no point.

Abbie: I do take it to heart, but I try to ignore it now.


Do you both have to deal with people sliding into your DMs?

AJ: I’m the worst because I don’t read my messages. I don’t know how to see them! I prefer to watch a funny video than read people’s messages. But Abbie gets them all! She’s got lists of private messages. I think it’s great though. I’ve obviously got a hot girlfriend. If you didn’t get any DMs, I’d be worried, Abbie!

What’s your living situation right now?

AJ: I’m back in my flat in west London now and Abbie has pretty much moved in. We’ve not made it official but she’s here most nights.

Abbie: I feel a bit guilty sometimes!

AJ: She’s so sweet. She apologised for taking up wardrobe space and the other day offered to give me some money towards the electricity bill as it had gone up a bit!

Do you talk about getting married one day?

AJ: Yeah, we’re like that couple who see a movie or something about weddings on Instagram, then talk about whether we’d want it at ours. We always discuss nice ideas and stuff about our own day.

Abbie: We watch a lot of Netflix’s Selling Sunset. The houses are a dream and Christine’s wedding was insane.

AJ: I think her snow machine was a bit much!

AJ, you’re rumoured for this year’s I’m A Celeb. Is there any truth to that?

Me and my brother are so focused on working together, building our careers. That’s my focus. There’s no truth to me being a campmate this year. But it does look like it’ll be an interesting year for whoever is going on the show.

You enjoyed a recent staycation in Cornwall with Curtis and your best friend, Amber. Do you all get on?

Abbie: I asked AJ if I could bring a friend so I invited Amber! I was stuck with the boys in lockdown so needed female company.

AJ: It was great to get away in the UK.

Do you both still talk to Curtis’ ex Maura [Higgins] at all?

AJ: I never really spoke to her, to be honest. I was doing Strictly and then she did Dancing On Ice. We did have one triple date with Tommy and Molly. But other than that we never really spoke.

AJ & Abbie would like to thank Jet 2 and the Rixos Sungate resort in Antalya, Turkey. jet2holidays.com; rixos.com/en/hotel-resort/rixos-sungate

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