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Aston Merrygold says the hardest thing about Strictly is missing his pregnant partner

(Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly contestant Aston Merrygold has admitted one of the hardest things about the show is not being able to spend quality time with his pregnant partner.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Aston Merrygold has said one of the most difficult things about being on the show is not being able to spend as much time with his pregnant partner as he would like.

The former JLS star also said he has never had official dance training and that he was just “lucky” to be able to dance in a boy band as part of his career.

Merrygold and his partner Sarah Richards are expecting their first child early next year, but being a part of the BBC One show means that he is often busy in rehearsals.

He told ITV’s Loose Women, when asked if she is missing him: “Yes, that is the hardest thing, because you kind of want to spend as much time together, just you two, because this is going to be the last time it’s just you two.

“But she’s like, ‘go to rehearsals!’.”

Merrygold, who is partnered with Strictly professional Janette Manrara, said that he and Ms Richards do not want to find out the sex of their baby before the birth.

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He said: “I’m so excited to find out, there and then, and send out the famous text that everyone sends out, like, it’s a boy, or it’s a girl and what the name is.

“I just really want that whole experience, I don’t really want to be able to plan everything.”

Merrygold said he will be attending a parenting class before he becomes a first-time father, and joked: “I can’t even manage my own life, let alone (a baby’s).”

The couple confirmed their baby news in early September.

Hitting back at claims he has an unfair advantage in the TV competition because of his background, Merrygold said: “People assume that I’m trained because I danced in a boy band.

“I’ve never stepped into a dance class, I’ve never had a teacher before, I just used to watch Michael Jackson videos and Justin Timberlake videos, and just used to enjoy it.

“I was lucky enough to have it be part of my career.”

The 29-year-old musician has consistently impressed the judges on the current series of Strictly, and regularly is among one of the most successful dancers on the leader board each week.

This weekend, during the Halloween-themed show, Merrygold and Manrara will dance a Paso Doble to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.