‘Strictly Come Dancing’ contestant Georgia May Foote has described her boyfriend Giovanni Pernice, who was her professional dance partner on the show, as “the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

25 year old Georgia, formerly an actress on ‘Coronation Street’ until last year, said that the 27 year old Italian dancer was there to support her during the disintegration of her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, fellow actor Sean Ward.

Georgia May FooteGeorgia May Foote and Giovanni Pernice in March 2016

“Gio is my best friend and he helped me through a lot,” the Lancashire-born actress told The Mirror in a new interview. “He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m in a very good place now. I’ve got good people around me.”

She also spoke at her surprise at how quickly she and Giovanni fell in love after ‘Strictly’ ended. “It’s something that just happened, I didn’t get a chance to look at him that way while I was on the show. It was a friendship that blossomed.”

More: Georgia May Foote moves in with ‘Strictly’ dance partner Giovanni Pernice

It’s claimed that fellow ‘Corrie’ actor Ward, who started dating Georgia last summer after she quit her role of five years as Katy Armstrong on the ITV soap, became jealous of the closeness of her friendship with Giovanni as ‘Strictly’ went on.

After the fall-out cleared up, her romance with the Italian has blossomed rapidly, with the pair announcing that they were house hunting last month. They’ve been growing ever closer since, with Giovanni taking her to his home country recently.

“I went to Sicily for a little while and I’ve met his parents. I’ve been in contact with them a lot and they are lovely. He’s met my parents too. I call him Peach, and he calls me Amore. I learnt a lot of Italian on ‘Strictly’. I know all the basics. But I’m not paying for lessons, he can teach me for free!”

More: ‘Strictly’ fans react with dismay to Georgia May Foote v Helen George dance-off [archive]