COMEDIAN and actor Johnny Vegas says he is "incredibly proud" of his wife Maia Dunphy as she appears in the new series of Dancing in the Stars in Ireland.

Johnny, whose real name is Michael Pennington, has been married to Irish broadcaster and author Maia for six years with the pair sharing a two-year-old son called Tom.

The dad-of-two from Thatto Heath, was seen cheering on the 42-year-old on Saturday as she danced on the first episode alongside other celebrities on the show.

This week's show, airing on Saturday, January 13, will be the first that Maia and dance partner Robert Rowinski will take to the dance floor as a couple to show off their moves.

Johnny, 47, said: "Of course we're all incredibly proud of Maia, it's such a tough training regime and she danced brilliantly on Saturday (in the group dance).

"I can't tell you how much effort has gone into rehearsals, and the nerves for the both dancers and spectators on the live shows is just immense.

"It's one of those things that really does take over pretty much everything - add to that the fact that there's child care issues to juggle both in Dublin and back here in the UK.

"I just don't know where Maia finds the energy - but she always gives things her all."

Johnny, 47, added that he will be missing this week's show due to him attending the premier for new animated prehistoric comedy film Early Man in London - for which Johnny voices a character.

He added: "I'm just gutted I can't be there again to cheer her on as it's her first solo dance, I just hope she can hear us all cheering from the UK.

"Still, I'm sure the other movie goers will forgive me if I nip out to check what's happening on social media from time to time.

"We're just crossing our fingers and toes that she keeps progressing through the heats."

To watch the show, which is aired on RTE in Ireland, visit