BBC Strictly star Ellie Leach has a secret weapon – and it doesn’t involve dancing

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola are being showered with nines and tens by the Strictly Come Dancing judges – and Ellie says it’s all down to power naps. The couple are pulling off complex sambas, salsas and paso dobles but to remember the choreography, Vito encourages Ellie to get as much rest as possible.

“We’ve got a really good relationship where we kind of know what the other needs,” says Coronation Street star Ellie. “Vito even lets me have power naps during training.”

The power naps come when the pair hit a brick wall. But they never last long, just a few minutes. Ellie explains, “If my brain’s not in the room he’ll be like, ‘Ellie, you need to take 15 minutes. Just close your eyes. Just have a little nap and then reset and we’ll go again.’ Sometimes your brain is filled with so much new information that you could be going over it for an hour and nothing’s going in.”

Vito is also filling Ellie with self confidence and giving her a new belief in her ability.

“Self-confidence is something I’ve always struggled with,” she says. “Before going on Strictly I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do it.’ I never would have expected to be performing live in front of so many people. But now we just do it every week and it kind of feels like my normal life. I’m not completely confident but every week we’re progressing and that’s something I’m really proud of.”

Vito’s kisses for Ellie and their obvious joy at being in each other’s company has led fans to speculate the couple are already an item, and Amanda Abbington caused a stir when she referred to Ellie and Vito as a “beautiful couple” on Instagram. Repeatedly, Ellie has written “love you” about Vito on her social media and their messages are littered with red heart emojis. However, Ellie insists their triumphant kisses are just a sign of their deep friendship. “It was only a kiss on the cheek,” she says, blushing. “He gives me a kiss on the cheek every Saturday!” Protesting, she adds, “It was definitely on the cheek.”

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