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Who is Karen Clifton? Strictly Come Dancing 2017 professional paired with Simon Rimmer

KAREN Clifton has been a big hit since joining Strictly as one of the professional dancers – alongside her husband Kevin – in 2012.

Here's the low-down on the beautiful star, who is yet to get her hands on the Glitterball Trophy…

 Karen previously made it to the final with TOWIE star Mark WrightGetty Images – WireImage Karen previously made it to the final with TOWIE star Mark Wright

Who is Karen Clifton, how old is she and what's her background?

Karen Clifton, nee Hauer, is a 35-year-old professional ballroom dancer of Venezuelan descent.

She has won various accolades including US Amateur American Rhythm National Champion and World Mambo Champion.

In 2009 she competed on US show So You Think You Can Dance, but now she is now best-known for her work on Strictly Come Dancing, joining the roster of professionals in 2012.

Since then, she has been partnered with Westlife's Nicky Byrne, Towie star Mark Wright, Dave Myers and Jeremy Vine.

In 2016 she was partnered with Will Young, but he withdrew from the contest after week four.

She went on to win the Children in Need version of the show with athlete Lutalo Muhammed that year, and joined in the Christmas special alongside chef Ainsley Harriot.

 The loved up ballroom couple got married in July last yearSplash News The loved up ballroom couple got married in July last year

Karen stars on the show alongside her husband and sister-in-law, Kevin and Joanne Clifton.

Both have had more luck than Karen with their show partners, as Joanne won with Ore Oduba in 2016 and Kevin has come second with all four of his partners.

Who is Kevin Clifton, when did they get married and how did they meet?

Karen tied the knot with Kevin in July 2015, after meeting in New York while working.

He proposed to her on her birthday on stage as they starred in a touring production of Burn The Floor in 2014.

After the pair got married, Karen decided to take on her husband's last name professionally, and is now known as Karen Clifton.

The couple revealed all about their relationship during a game of ITV's All Star Mr and Mrs for charity.

Describing his wife as a “nut case”, Kevin said: “We have such a good laugh together all the time.

“My life wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for Karen. She’s perfect. She’s always been my best friend.”

Karen was previously married to former dance partner, Matthew Hauer.

The loved-up Strictly pair told the tale of their romance through dance in solo show Kevin And Karen Dance, in May 2017, but instead of practising the choreography, Kevin admitted he had been rolling out his muscles on a physio ball after he suffered an injury that left him unable to walk properly.

 Karen and Kevin are partners at work and at homeSplash News Karen and Kevin are partners at work and at home

When is Strictly Come Dancing 2017 on and who are the judges?

Strictly Come Dancing launched on September 9 on BBC One, with the live shows kicking off on September 23.

Strictly always airs on BBC One in two parts. The main show is on Saturday normally around 7pm and the results show airs on Sunday at a similar time.

There will be a Christmas special again in 2017, with the celebrity participants expected to be announced in early November.

This year sees a new judging lineup after head judge Len Goodman retired.

He will be replaced by Shirley Ballas who joins returning judges Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood on the panel.

There will be three new professional dancers joining the existing pros; Dianne Buswell, Amy Dowden and Nadiya Bychkova.

Simon Rimmer and Karen Clifton perform in a Toy Story theme on Strictly Come Dancing

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