Strictly's Pasha Kovalev is protecting pregnant wife Rachel Riley from cruel trolls

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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Rachel Riley (R) and Pasha Kovalev attend the Julien MacDonald Spring/Summer 2016 Collection during London Fashion Week at Smithfields Market on September 19, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Julien MacDonald)
Pasha Kovalev is protecting Rachel Riley from trolling. (David M. Benett/Getty Images for Julien MacDonald)

Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev has opened up on how he tries to protect his pregnant wife Rachel Riley from vile trolling.

Countdown maths whizz Riley, 35, is currently expecting the couple's second child but has been subjected to hate-filled comments online in rows about antisemitism and domestic abuse.

Read more: Rachel Riley wins libel case against blogger over 'harassment campaign'

Dancer Kovalev, 41, told OK! he was insisting that her wife cut down on her online interactions so that she could be shielded from extra stress during pregnancy.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 26: Pasha Kovalev with TV personality Rachel Riley attends the 6th Annual Algemeiner J100 Gala at Gotham Hall on September 26, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
The couple already have a daughter, Maven. (Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Admitting that "trolling affects my wife a lot", he said: "I'm very distant from this kind of thing, I never look at comments online and Rachel is trying to get a point across about racial abuse or domestic violence and she gets back very, I would say, ridiculous messages."

Protective Kovalev said: "I am trying to protect her as much as I can by providing a safe environment at home, that's all I can do and try to direct her attention to the good things.

"In her position, you cannot totally avoid all the negative messages or comments but I am insisting on cutting interaction online to the bare minimum, it definitely affects her health and, because she's carrying a baby, it will affect them too. I'm trying to support her to do less of it whilst she's pregnant."

Rachel Riley appeared on Countdown yesterday (Channel 4)
Rachel Riley has faced trolling over causes close to her heart. (Channel 4)

The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Maven, in December 2019 and announced they were expecting again in April.

Riley and Kovalev met as dance partners on Strictly Come Dancing in 2013, with Riley's first year-long marriage to Jamie Gilbert ending in the same year.

She and Kovalev got together after the series ended and were married in Las Vegas in June 2019.

Read more: Tracy-Ann Oberman talks fighting antisemitism

Kovalev said that they "didn't want too much of a break" between their children so that they would grow up being close.

He added that Riley was "in good health and good spirits" so far.

Watch: Rachel Riley in court battle with former Jeremy Corbyn aide over tweet