Kevin Kilbane and his Dancing On Ice professional skater partner Brianne Delcourt revealed they are dating earlier this month, and now the former Republic of Ireland footballer has opened up about their romance, saying he's "absolutely delighted".

Kilbane, 42, and Delcourt, 38, met after being paired for the current series of Dancing On Ice last September.

The couple appeared on ITV's Lorraine on Friday, where the footballer-turned-TV pundit said of sparking up their relationship: "When we first got together - we met what seems a long time ago now - it doesn't seem like four months. Everything happened very quickly. I certainly knew straight away.

"I still had huge reservations even when I'd signed up for the show, and obviously then Brianne and I got together and everything's been great, everything's gone really well.

"I could have actually quit before the show even started, I think that's how it went for me. But it's gone great and I'm absolutely delighted."

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The pro-skater said it was hard to keep their romance secret: "I think because Kevin's private... I'm a mum too, and I try to keep things private.

"At first we didn't want to say too much, but we didn't want to lie at the same time. It is obvious."

"Everybody around the crew and cast knew, we knew full well things would get out," Kilbane added.

Kilbane said that Delcourt is "a tough coach" but credited her for his success so far in the show, saying: "I wouldn't be where I am in now the competition without Brianne.

She added: "I'm used to being a tough coach but it's a bit hard with Kevin, because obviously there's feelings involved and I adore him.

"But if I do try to be tough, he just laughs at me. There's a natural connection, it's not put-on it's real, and we just enjoy each other."

Dancing on Ice airs on Virgin Media One and ITV.

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