Giovanni Pernice's 'secret girlfriend' is said to be jealous of his close connection with his Strictly dance partner Debbie McGee. Luba Mushtuk danced with 27-year-old Giovanni on his previous tour and the pair have been close for a number of years. However, his bond with 59-year-old Debbie has sparked rumours of a romance in recent weeks – and Luba is not happy. "Luba and Giovanni are together," a Strictly source confirmed to the Sun. "But she doesn't like Debbie because of their bond – she feels how much Gio cares for her.
"It's also upsetting as she would like their romance to be out in the open. Luba is very keen to be on the show one day. She assists with choreography. But that means she has to spend a lot of time watching Giovanni rehearse with Debbie, which can be uncomfortable for her."
Giovanni Pernice and Luba Mushtuk worked together on his 2017 dance tour
Debbie and Giovanni have wowed both the judges and the audience with their dance routines this year, and are one of the favourites to lift the coveted glitterball trophy – but it's their sizzling chemistry on the dance floor that has really got the nation talking. Giovanni, who is 32 years younger than Debbie, recently fuelled rumours of a romance as he spoke about his deep connection with the star. "I've got the winning partner, not just in this competition, but for the rest of my life," the Italian dancer told the Mirror. "Debbie has to be the best person I've met in this country so far. She is just amazing."
The Strictly star has fuelled rumours of a romance with Debbie McGee
Debbie – widow of magician Paul Daniels – has also previously touched upon the romance rumours. "I absolutely adore him and I have no doubt that he adores me," she said in an interview with Bella magazine. "We have a great working dance partnership and we really love each other as human beings, so I can see why people want to say there is something going on.
"We have great chemistry and love dancing together. But there's nothing going on." She continued: "For a woman of my age, it makes me feel fantastic. To be nearly 60 and have people think I'd be having an affair with such a good-looking Italian is good for one's confidence!"