Ben Cohen’s ex Abby has teamed up with Lisa Armstrong for a brand new project.
When it comes to similarities, Abby Cohen and Lisa Armstrong have a few things in common – Strictly Come Dancing, a long-term marriage and high profile divorces – but it’s their latest venture, collaborating on new show The Updaters, that has seen them become friends.
The online makeover show works its magic on the heartbroken, divorced, or those whose who simply lack confidence, transforming them into the best version of themselves so they can move on romantically with both a new look and new technique for finding love.
Abby tells us, “I hadn’t met Lisa prior to the show, it was only when filming that I met her. We’ve had some tragic, similar situations but I don’t want it to be the ‘bitter wives club’ because that’s absolutely not how it is.”
“Just because Lisa happens to have had a marriage breakdown like me, it doesn’t mean we’re pals going out drinking every weekend because that’s not the case. We are there to do a job and we are doing it really well.”
And while she and Lisa are able to share their own experiences with “the updatees”, Abby thinks the pairing is more of a “bittersweet situation”.
It’s no secret that both Lisa and Abby have suffered heartbreak; while Lisa also works as head of make-up on BBC1’s Strictly, the show is a raw reminder for Abby, who experienced the breakdown of her marriage to rugby star Ben Cohen just months after he took part in the celebrity dance contest back in 2013.
The Cohens became the eighth couple to fall victim to the ‘Strictly curse’, and Ben began a relationship with his professional dance partner, Kristina Rihanoff, with whom he now has a daughter.
He insists the romance started after the split.
Meanwhile, Lisa is still in the middle of sorting out the finances of her high-profile divorce from Ant McPartlin and custody of their beloved dog, Hurley, while watching him publicly move on with their former PA, Anne-Marie Corbett, after he called time on their 12-year marriage.
Abby didn’t expect Strictly Come Dancing to spell the end of her 11-year-marriage and 23-year relationship. As she continues down the road of recovery, it’s her new show, and spending time with her twins, Isabelle and Harriette, aged 11, that is helping her to move on.
But with each new Strictly curse that hits the headlines – like the recent Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton romance – we asked Abby if the show’s latest hook-ups bring it all back for her.
“Yes of course, absolutely,” says Abby.
“I don’t think you ever get over it, you just learn to manage it. Yes, it happened and naturally, I’m devastated because it wasn’t my choice, but we have two little girls to support and I’ve built my career from nothing so I have to keep going forward.
“Of course I think about it a lot but it happened and something I’ve learnt from it is that whatever I put my mind to I can achieve. I have to pinch myself, I’ve done all this by myself.”
And while Abby would rather not say if she’s on good terms with her ex, the whole experience will not stop her from dating someone in the spotlight.
“I’m open for it completely,” says Abby.
“This is not my tragedy story – it’s my recovery. All I’ve been doing over the past months is putting all my time and effort into my girls and my job – that’s what’s helped me recover from such heartache.”
It’s been six years since she split from Ben and, although Abby tells us she is ready to find someone, she explains, “I don’t know how to do it. I was married for a very long time and didn’t expect to be single. I know how hard it is to find someone.
“It’s really difficult the way modern dating is, with all the apps it is easy to swipe left and keep going, it’s a game now, it’s not like it used to be.
“But I’ve gained some advice from all the experts on the show.”
✱ You can catch up with The Updaters on YouTube and via updatersmakeover.com