Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe says he feels accepted for the first time in his life as he made history on the show by dancing with another man.
The professional dancer and Latin champion, who was axed from the competition last week with actress Catherine Tyldesley, took to the floor with fellow pro Graziano Di Prima on Sunday night for the first dance to feature two male professionals performing together.
He told Hello magazine: “I’ve never felt so liberated. For the first time in my life, I feel accepted for who I am. That says so much about the people of this country.
“To be able to dance with a friend I respect and adore is joyous. There’s bromance galore between us, but there were no male and female roles, just free movement. It was beautiful, classy and elegant.” Radebe added that partnering with Tyldesley played an important part in his feeling of acceptance.
He said: “Aunty Cath, as I call her, has been supportive of me from the start.
“It was my first time to be paired with a dance partner and I didn’t want to fail her. That was my biggest fear. I wanted to make sure I gave her the best experience of her life.
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“But I was so lucky to be paired up with the UK’s sweetheart. She was on Team Johannes from day one. She made me believe in myself more.
“All of a sudden it was like, just be who you are; don’t worry about anything.
“It’s so lovely to be embraced for who I am, to not have to hold back.”
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Tyldesley added: “We just clicked from the start. As well as being a wonderful teacher, he has the most genuine beautiful soul.
“He’s kind, honest and giving with everyone he meets and I trust him implicitly. I tell him stuff I wouldn’t tell most people. We’re friends for life and I feel so grateful to have found him.”
The full interview is in Hello, out now.