Strictly’s John Whaite says he ‘fell in love’ with dance partner Johannes Radebe and ‘still loves him’ forcing him to ‘spend time apart’ from his fiancé Paul Atkins after the show
John Whaite has admitted he ‘fell in love’ his dance partner Johannes Radebe during their time together competing on Strictly Come Dancing.
The Great British Bake Off star, 34, was partnered with the ballroom pro, 36, during the 2021 series and says he almost fell victim to the show’s famous curse.
The show has become synonymous with the ‘curse’ which sees celebrities split from their current partners following their time on the programme. The show has been linked to 14 splits over the course of 20 series.
John, who was in a relationship with his fiancé and partner of 15 years Paul Atkins at the time, said the couple ‘spent some time apart’ after he opened up about his feelings towards the South African dancer.
The TV personality admitted ‘still loves’ Johannes but said he believes being in regular contact would be disrespectful to his partner.
Candid: John Whaite has revealed how he fell in love his dance partner Johannes Radebe during their time together on Strictly Come Dancing
Long-term love: John, who was in a relationship with his fiancé and partner of 15 years Paul Atkins at the time, said the couple ‘spent some time apart’ after he opened up about his feelings towards the South African dancer
Discussing his time on the show with Johannes, he told The Times: ‘When you’re physically pressed against another man for ten hours a day, things move emotionally. So I fell in love with him [Johannes]. I still love him, of course I do.’
‘I can’t speak for him – because I’m not allowed to, legally – but it felt like there was love there.
‘We had such similar stories growing up – the homophobia, the bullying, coming out, coming to terms with our sexuality – as any queer kid would.’
John and Johannes were the first ever male same-sex pairing on the show and made it to the final two, before being beaten by Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice.
The TV personality admitted his feelings about Johannes to Paul and the couple spent some time apart following the honest conversation.
Paul moved back in with his parents, while John recalled sitting ‘on the patio, drinking bottle after bottle of sauvignon blanc’.
However, John has said the couple managed to put the issue behind them as they didn’t want to throw away the history they had together.
John confessed that while he and Johannes still speak now and again, he would be willing to end their friendship if Paul began to struggle with it.
Open: The TV personality admitted ‘still loves’ Johannes but said he believes being in regular contact would be disrespectful to his partner (pictured John and Johannes embracing after the TV BAFTAs in 2022)
Strong bond: The baker, 34, was partnered with the South African ballroom pro, 36, during the 2021 series and says he almost fell victim to the show’s infamous curse
He said: ‘I love him to bits and I worship the ground he walks on, but I have to be mindful that there’s more than my own desires to consider here and if it would be tricky for Paul for me to be in contact with Johannes, then it’s a sacrifice that I have to make.’
While John and Paul have been able to work through their relationship woes, Johannes is not dating anyone publicly.
Speaking to Hello! magazine at the end of last year about his relationship status, he said: ‘Due to internalised homophobia for the longest time, I thought that I did not deserve love.
‘And it’s a journey and the fact that I’m here at a place of acceptance and abundance, I feel like I’m ready and we’ll see.’
When asked what he was looking for in a partner, he said: ‘Kindness goes a long way because the day that we don’t love each other, as long as we are kind to each other, it will carry us.’
In May 2022, John and Johannes were pictured embracing each other after leaving the BAFTA TV Awards.
Johannes was pictured being consoled by John, they waited for a bus home from London ‘s Royal Festival Hall where the annual awards ceremony was held.
Johannes has previously said he ‘couldn’t live without’ John, as he reminisced on their experience and their friendship.
Johannes, who joined the show in 2018, looked back on his experience with John before beginning the 2022 series without him.
Friends: Johannes, who joined the show in 2018, looked back on his experience with John before beginning the 2022 series without him
Supportive: John’s now-fiancé visited the dancing duo during rehearsals for the show and the behind the scenes clip was shown during an episode of the show
Practice: While practicing their Samba, which they received 38 points from the judges after their routine to Acuyuye by DLG, John was sweetly surprised by Paul
Penning a tribute to his former dance partner, he said: ‘Now that Strictly rehearsals have started, I’ve been thinking back to last year when I had the pleasure of meeting @john_whaite.
‘I can’t believe it’s been a year since John came into my life and what a fabulous and truly special Strictly journey we had.
‘There were moments during the show which took my breath away, including the overwhelming support we received.’
‘Not only is John an amazing dancer, he is an incredible friend and I can’t imagine a life without him in it.
‘Although my Strictly journey with John has come to a close, I’m feeling the energy and magic of the show again and I am looking forward to the next Strictly chapter and the excitement and challenges this will bring.
‘I cannot wait, let the adventure begin! Xxx.’
Johannes, who moved to the UK in 2018 after being called up for the dancing competition, previously said it was ‘courageous’ of the BBC to introduce an all-male couple, adding that it meant a ‘great deal’ to him as it represented ‘everything I was.’
It wasn’t until three years ago that the choreographer finally raised his sexuality with his mother, who responded to his coming out with, ‘You are my son and nothing changes.’
But other reactions to his being gay have not been so supportive, as he admitted to avoiding social media owing to cruel messages such as: ‘Don’t come back to Africa, you’re a disgrace’.
John’s now-fiance visited the dancing duo during rehearsals for the show and the behind the scenes clip was shown during an episode of the show.
While practicing their Samba, which they received 38 points from the judges after their routine to Acuyuye by DLG, John was sweetly surprised by Paul.
Speaking in a VT, the contestant said: ‘Today we had a very surprise visit from my fiancé Paul! He is just the best thing in my life.’
John then joked to Johannes: ‘So you think you’ve had it bad for eight weeks, he’s had it for 13 years!’
After rekindling their romance, last summer John shared a loved-up post dedicated to his partner Paul, detailing their ‘complicated’ relationship.
The caption read: ‘Relationships are complicated – the ones we have with ourselves, and those that we share with others.
‘They aren’t a blissful merging of freedoms, but rather a complicated sharing of experiences, both joyous and painful. We learn more about ourselves on a daily – if not hourly – basis, and we grow from those lessons.’
John continued: ‘After 14 years I’m blessed to have this man in my life, and how we define what we have is ours alone. So do enjoy the work we both share publicly, but please respect that we all have a sacred and precious right to privacy.’
John, who won GBBO in 2012, is releasing a new memoir, titled Dancing on Eggshells, on 24 August.
Love: After rekindling their romance, last summer John shared a loved-up post dedicated to his partner Paul, detailing their ‘complicated’ relationship
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