Kristina Rihanoff is leaving 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Kristina Rihanoff

Kristina Rihanoff

The 38-year-old dancer - who made her decision to quit before finding out she and boyfriend Ben Cohen are expecting their first child together - admits she has mixed feelings about departing the programme after eight years.

She said: "It's a bittersweet situation. I was on 'Strictly' for eight years and I always loved the dancing side of it, but I feel relieved because I wasn't happy towards the end.

I'm also sad because I'm going to miss everyone. I will always be grateful for the fantastic opportunity that 'Strictly' gave me to be part of such a brilliant show."

Kristina - who was partnered with Daniel O'Donnell in the most recent series of the show - admits she doesn't like the way the competition has changed in recent years, with experienced celebrity dancers taking part.

She told HELLO! magazine: "'Strictly' has changed dramatically. The days of a complete beginner like Darren Gough or Mark Ramprakash winning are gone.

"Nowadays we have winners like Jay McGuiness, who has five years of ballet and contemporary dance training, and Caroline Flack, who has a degree in musical theatre.

"Also, before the video clips used to be all about our training and funny things that happened in training - you saw the blood, sweat and tears. But recently they would film scenarios like us going to a cafe to have tea and I don't really understand it any more. I know everything has to evolve but it's not my cup of tea anymore."