BBC Strictly Come Dancing’s Ellie and Vito put on passionate display as they prepare for semi-finals

Rehearsals have been underway for Saturday night's Strictly Come Dancing semi-final, with Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola snapped practising a rather passionate routine.

During a gruelling 13-year rehearsal session, rumoured lovebirds Ellie, 22, and Vito, 31, could be seen concentrating hard as they practised their two dance routines, which they hope will see them to the final.

Despite the long hours, both Ellie and Vito appeared in high spirits as they departed the dance studio, with Ellie looking rather happy as she wrapped up warm in a black-and-white patterned coat and black scarf.

Vito also looked rather cosy as he sported a black jacket, which he paired with black and brown scarf as he headed into a taxi before heading home.

It comes as romance rumours continue to surround the dancing partners.

Last week, their relationship was labelled a "showmance" to help win votes by some sceptics. But a pal of Ellie's insisted on Saturday that they have been together since November and the romance is genuine, as first reported by the Mirror.

They told the outlet: "Initially, they were friendly but as the weeks went on, their relationship changed. Ellie has made it clear to friends how happy she is with Vito.

"She's not the kind of person to fake something like that for votes. Putting on a showmance isn't her style what you see with her is what you get. When Ellie started Strictly, she was self-conscious and unsure. Now she's radiating confidence, which is lovely."

The couple have fuelled romance rumours in recent weeks with a series of steamy dances. Last Saturday they impressed with an Argentine Tango, and Vito was recorded telling Ellie to "eat me with your eyes".

A second source shared that their growing closeness is not only noticeable backstage at Elstree Studios but also while promoting the show together.

They said: "Ellie and Vito have become so close that they're often seen all over each other, and the chemistry is striking. The rumour they're more than friends isn't openly discussed, but it's widely understood."

The pair's romance also appeared to be confirmed by their former Strictly co-star Amanda Abbington.

After Ellie posted a sweet photo of herself and Vito, Amanda commented with: "Stunning. So proud of the both of you. You are the most beautiful couple!"

This comment received hundreds of likes and sent fans wild, with many suggesting that it confirmed that the pair are indeed a romantic icon.

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