BBC Celebrity Antiques Road Trip: Countdown’s Rachel Riley and Her Marriage to Strictly’s Pasha Kovalev


Rachel Riley is best known for her role as a host on the hit Channel 4 game show Countdown.

The 35-year-old star first graced our screens in 2009 when she replaced longtime Carol Vorderman, and since then has been helping contestants find puzzle solutions.

She also played a major role in the creation of the popular Countdown spin-off, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, alongside comedian Jimmy Carr.

Read more:BBC One Graham Norton Show: Miriam Margolyes’ age, net worth and her most controversial TV moments

But there is more to Rachel than meets the eye.

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From a brilliant college career to a Strictly Come Dancing scandal – KentLive looks back on Rachel Riley’s career so far.

Life before the countdown

Rachel Riley was born in Rochford, Essex to a Jewish family.

She grew up in the Thorpe Bay area of ​​Southend-on-Sea, where she was educated at Thorpe Hall Independent School.

She went on to study at Southend High School for Girls, a high school, earning four Aces at A-Level.

Rachel was later accepted to study mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford and it was during her university studies that she realized her passion for numbers.

Rachel Riley and fellow Countdown presenter Jeff Stelling
Rachel Riley and fellow Countdown presenter Jeff Stelling

She initially envisioned a career in the financial sector and completed an internship at the prestigious Deutsche Bank in the City of London.

However, the experience put her off, as she disliked the morning train ride and found the behavior of the town traders to be extreme.

How did she end up presenting Countdown?

Although she changed her mind about working in the financial industry, Rachel had no ambition to become a TV presenter.

However, her mother suggested she apply for the role after longtime presenter Carol Vorderman resigned.

Rachel's mom encouraged her to apply for the role of Countdown
Rachel’s mom encouraged her to apply for the role of Countdown

Rachel agreed because she was interested in the digital part of the game and successfully beat 1,000 other applicants for the role.

She previously commented: “There is only one cool math job in the area and I was lucky enough to have it, so I’m absolutely thrilled.”

In addition to hosting the sister show of Countdown 8 Out of Ten Cats, Rachel co-hosted The Gadget Show with Jason Bradbury on Channel 5.

And in 2016, she was part of the three-person presentation team for ITV’s six-part series It’s Not Rocket Science, alongside Ben Miller and Romesh Ranganathan.

Later that same year, Rachel embarked on a whole new venture, joining Sky Sports to host Friday Night Football alongside former Countdown co-host Jeff Stelling, and Fantasy Football Club with Max Rushden and Paul Merson.

What is his net worth?

Rachel is known to be good with numbers, but it seems that she is also good with numbers in her bank account.

According to CelebrityNetWorth, it is estimated to be worth $ 5million, or around £ 3.7million.

Who is Rachel Riley married to?

Rachel married Jamie Gilbert, whom she met while studying at Oxford University, in August 2012.

A year later, in September 2013, she appeared in the eleventh series of the BBC ballroom dance program One Strictly Come Dancing.

However, she was eliminated during the sixth week of the show.

Shortly after leaving the show, it was announced that Rachel and her husband were going their separate ways.

Rachel married her Strictly dance partner Pasha Kovalev
Rachel married her Strictly dance partner Pasha Kovalev

And she quickly formed a relationship with her professional dance partner Pasha Kovalev.

Rachel’s marriage ending has been cited as an example of the infamous “Strict Curse” – where Strictly Come Dancing contestants leave their relationships for their dance partner.

At the time, Rachel insisted that Pasha was not the cause of her marriage breakdown.

She told The Sun: “I’m still friends with my ex-husband. He’s great, he’s a brilliant guy.

“We had been together since I was 19 and it wasn’t right.”

In May 2019, Rachel announced that she and Pasha were expecting their first child, and a month later the couple married in Las Vegas.

That same year, Rachel gave birth to a baby girl, Maven Aria and in April 2021, she announced that she was pregnant with the couple’s second child, giving birth to her second daughter Noa on Friday, November 5.

She wrote on Twitter: “She’s totally adorable and her big sister Maven has already tried to welcome her into the world by giving her Oatly and pickles, we think that’s a good sign.

“Many thanks to the wonderful team of home birth midwives and to my doula who looked after us so well.”

Politics activism

In addition to being a passionate mathematician, Rachel Riley has been very open to anti-Semitism.

In 2018, she launched a campaign against the way the Labor Party had handled allegations of anti-Semitism under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

She said she decided to speak out after seeing “Israel is a Racist Business” posters on London bus stops.

In January 2019, Rachel gave a speech at a reception in Westminster for the Holocaust Educational Trust and addressed what she described as the “hideous abuse” she had suffered.

She told Jewish News: “In the name of Labor, I have been called a hypocrite, a lying propagandist, a *** – teeth-and-a *** a dolly bird, an armorer of anti-Semitism, a fascist. , right- wing extremist, Nazi sympathizer, Twitter cancer, thick curator, brainwashing, anti-Semite, white supremacist, hate preacher, Zio political trollster, not a real Jew, child tyrant, conspiracy theorist , a child protector minion puppet who is my death grandfather would be disgusted. “

Rachel had even been involved in talks to set up a centrist Labor separatist party at one point, according to the Times.

Manchester United

Rachel is a huge Manchester United fan
Rachel is a huge Manchester United fan

In her spare time Rachel enjoys watching football, having long been a Manchester United fan.

In fact, to mark his 1,000th episode of Countdown, United player Ryan Giggs gave him a signed team jersey.

And when she appeared as a contestant for the BBC Celebrity Mastermind quiz, her subject of specialization was limited club history.

Rachel Riley and her partner Pasha Kovalev will appear on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip on the BBC this evening at 7pm.


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