Entertainment: Helen Skelton's ex Richie breaks silence after her Strictly debut

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Strictly Come Dancing 2022 kicked off its first live show in style on Saturday, with Helen Skelton and her professional partner Gorka Marquez scoring 26 points.

And as the BBC programme ended, the Countryfile presenter's estranged husband Richie Myler broke his silence after her Strictly debut as he branded his girlfriend Stephanie Thirkill 'family' in a gushing post on Instagram.

The rugby player, 32, ended his eight year marriage to Helen, 39, back in April, just four months after she gave birth to their third child, and quickly moved on with Stephanie, 32.

Stephanie is the daughter of Leeds Rhinos president Andrew Thirkill, who is one of the richest businessmen in Leeds and is worth an estimated £175 million.

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Debut: Strictly Come Dancing 2022 kicked off its first live show in style on Saturday, with Helen Skelton, 39, and her professional partner Gorka Marquez scoring 26 points  © Provided by Daily Mail Debut: Strictly Come Dancing 2022 kicked off its first live show in style on Saturday, with Helen Skelton, 39, and her professional partner Gorka Marquez scoring 26 points

Richie first re-posted a selfie taken by Stephanie, taken pitch-side after his final Leeds Rhinos game of the rugby league season.

She had penned: 'Wasn't a win but couldn't be more proud of this one. Grand Final at Old Trafford and a great game for you. Love you so much @richiemyler,' to which he added: 'Love you.'

Posting a picture of himself and Stephanie with her family to his Instagram Stories, Richie also gushed wrote: 'Finished this season as a family,' and drew a heart.

The rugby player shares two young sons Ernie, six, Louis, five, and daughter Elsie Kate, eight months, with his estranged wife Helen.

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Family: Posting a picture of himself and Stephanie with her family to his Instagram Stories, Richie also gushed wrote: 'Finished this season as a family,' and drew a heart © Provided by Daily Mail Family: Posting a picture of himself and Stephanie with her family to his Instagram Stories, Richie also gushed wrote: 'Finished this season as a family,' and drew a heart Loved-up: Richie also re-posted a selfie taken by Stephanie, taken pitch-side after his final rugby game of the season © Provided by Daily Mail Loved-up: Richie also re-posted a selfie taken by Stephanie, taken pitch-side after his final rugby game of the season

Richie made his relationship with Stephanie Instagram official when they attended Wimbledon together.

His relationship with Stephanie came to light in May, days after it was announced that his eight-year marriage to Helen was over.

Helen was said to feel 'bewildered' by the breakdown of her marriage, with a source close to the couple telling MailOnline: 'Helen is absolutely devastated.'

They continued: 'Now she is contemplating life without him while he has moved on with his new partner.'

New focus: Helen is currently taking on a new challenge as she competes in Strictly © Provided by Daily Mail New focus: Helen is currently taking on a new challenge as she competes in Strictly Emotional: Helen and Richie's break up came just four months after the arrival of the couple's third child Elsie (pictured in May) © Provided by Daily Mail Emotional: Helen and Richie's break up came just four months after the arrival of the couple's third child Elsie (pictured in May)

'Richie is insisting there was no crossover, that he began the romance with Stephanie after their marriage collapsed, but Helen feels let down. They are still married, and their baby is literally four months old.

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'She thought their marriage was safe and secure and is totally shocked by what's happened.'

Former Blue Peter star Helen confirmed their breakup on Instagram, writing: 'Very sad to say that Richie and I are no longer a couple. He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co-parent our small children.'

Making it official: Richie made his relationship with Stephanie Instagram official when they attended Wimbledon together © Provided by Daily Mail Making it official: Richie made his relationship with Stephanie Instagram official when they attended Wimbledon together

For her Strictly debut on Saturday, Helen took to the floor with Gorka Marquez to perform a American Smooth to You Send Me by Aretha Franklin.

And despite her protests that she lacked elegance, Craig was quick to reassure her, telling her: ' Love the energy and you do have elegance, darling.'

While Anton gushed: 'Brilliant line, when you do lines it's gorgeous. Own it! Own the dance, Just believe in yourself a little bit more because when you do, it's brilliant.'

Shirley also praised the presenter, explaining: 'You weren't too fast, you weren't too slow. The beginning was divine, the arms were love. Well done.'

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Strictly's Gorka Marquez shares 'positive' Helen Skelton update after 'self belief' plea .
Strictly Come Dancing pro Gorka Marquez and celeb partner Helen Skelton have given an update from training Blue Peters and Countryfile star Helen had already had a turbulent year, before throwing herself into Strictly training, after the breakdown of her marriage to rugby player Richie Myler, who she has three children with. Gorka was forced to coax Helen back into an early training session, after she fled through a fire exit and then, desperate to try and instil some confidence in her, he surrounded her with mirrors in week two rehearsals so she had no option but to look at herself.

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