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Joanne Clifton, 36, went public with her new romance with performer AJ Jenks during lockdown and now has discussed the difficulty of making their relationship work long distance. The former Strictly dancer revealed that they began dating last year and shortly after she moved to New York for two months.
Destined to be long distance
She revealed: “We have been officially been together since the beginning of this year, but we have been dating since September last year.
“I think were destined to be a long distance relationship, because he was on tour, I was in Rocky Horror Show, so we didn’t get to really see each other.
“Then he went to do Panto, and I was on tour so we still couldn’t really see each other.
“Then I went to New York to train for two months, so we started seeing each other, then I got back he asked me to be official, asked me to be his girlfriend, and then this (lockdown) happened.”
The couple first met through one of Joanne’s housemates, who encouraged her to date the west end star even though he was not “her type” at first.
She recalled: “AJ, actually played Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story.
“I met him through my housemate Sasha because she was in it too. I watched the gala night of their show, and he was there playing the lead and I was like, ‘Oooooh’.
“I tend to go for men with long hair and boyish good looks; he’s really talented as well so I kind of just fell for him.”
AJ continued to pursue a romance with the blonde star, as he took her on the “best date” she had ever been on.
Joanne explained: “Basically two days after the gala night I got a message from him asking if he could take me out and Its the best first date I think ive ever been on.
I got there, and he’s like right, ‘You’re having one drink and then were going to play Mario Kart in the arcades’ he had me from that!”
However, just as their romance was beginning to heat up, the couple found themselves facing extreme circumstances as lockdown began.
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But Joanne insists the pair were well prepared to spend time apart after they had been dating long distance for a period of time.
She said: “We get on so well, were just so similar, everything feels right, I think we have said if we can get through this lockdown, we can get through anything.”
Being isolated apart from each other meant the pair had to find creative ways to keep the spark alive.
Joanne explained that AJ would often organise special FaceTime date nights for the couple.
Joanne continued: “The FaceTime date nights are all his idea, he’s such a romantic, he loves singing to me, like serenading me with his guitars and stuff.
“He’s like, ‘Because I cant take you out on dates lets just do it over Zoom. Let’s get dressed up and we will sit there with a nice glass of wine’.
“This is how I know things are going well; we just chat all day everyday.
“I think lockdown for some it’s a make or break situation. Its quite difficult but if you can make it through lockdown, you can make it through anything,” she finished.
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