EXCLUSIVE: Photos emerge of Strictly star John Whaite and his dance partner Johannes Radebe leaving an awards ceremony hand-in-hand – as onlookers claim ‘they could’ve been an item’
Strictly star John Whaite couldn’t keep his hands off his pro dance partner Johannes Radebe a year after they performed together on the BBC show, new pictures reveal.
The pair, who finished the show in second place, were seen hand in hand at a London awards ceremony in October 2022. They were later sat arm in arm together.
The pictures emerged just days after Great British Bake Off star Mr Whaite, 34, revealed he and his fiancé and partner of 15 years Paul Atkins ‘spent some time apart’ after he opened up about his feelings towards the South African dancer.
Onlookers at the event, which was held at the Camden Roundhouse in North London nine months ago, were surprised at how openly affectionate they were.
The pair, who won the Attitude Gamechanger Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards for breaking ground for Strictly’s first same sex coupling ‘could not keep their hands off each other.’
Close bond: Strictly star John Whaite couldn’t keep his hands off his professional dance partner Johannes Radebe a year after they performed together on the BBC One show, new pictures reveal
Connection: The pair were seen hand in hand at an awards ceremony in London in October 2022. They were later sat arm in arm together
Partner: The pictures emerged just days after Great British Bake Off star Mr Whaite, 34, revealed that he and his fiancé and partner of 15 years Paul Atkins ‘spent some time apart’ after he opened up about his feelings towards the South African dancer
An onlooker said: ‘If there was a night which showed how close they were, then this was it. John wore a deep cut V neck see-through shirt at the event and all his chest muscles which he flaunted on Strictly were clearly on show for everyone to see and Johannes seemed to love it all.
‘But the pair left no-one in doubt they could have been an item that night. The pair sat next to each other all night and at one point were arm in arm. They clearly seemed a couple. It was very romantic to watch. They were inseparable.
‘Throughout the evening the pair looked into each other’s eyes and held hands. At one point John had his arm around John’s waist at their table for everyone to see and Johannes had his arm around John.
‘The pair stayed until the end of the night and held hands as they walked down the staircase at the Roundhouse. The pair were careful not to be photographed together hand in hand as they stepped outside the venue after midnight to avoid waiting photographers.
‘There was one telling moment as they left. Johannes looked visibly upset as John left him behind to get into his waiting car and Johannes was seen confiding his feelings to a friend who was with him on the night that they had to be split apart due to photographers surrounding the venue who were eager to get a photo of them leaving together.
‘They clearly looked together but at the time were careful not to share it with everyone as their close bond was not an open secret at the time, unlike it is now.’
In an interview to promote his book. Mr Whaite admitted ‘still loves’ Johannes but said he believes being in regular contact would be disrespectful to his partner.
PDA: Onlookers at the event, which was held at the Camden Roundhouse in North London nine months ago, were surprised at how openly affectionate they were
Speculation: The pair, who won the Attitude Gamechanger Award at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards for breaking ground for Strictly’s first same sex coupling ‘could not keep their hands off each other
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.’
Mr Whaite and Mr Radebe 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 Mr Radebe to Mr Atkins and the couple spent some time apart following the honest conversation.
Mr Atkins moved back in with his parents, while Mr Whaite recalled sitting ‘on the patio, drinking bottle after bottle of sauvignon blanc’.
However, Mr Whaite has said the couple managed to put the issue behind them as they didn’t want to throw away the history they had together.
Shock: John recently told how he ‘fell in love’ with his dance partner Johannes during their time together competing on Strictly Come Dancing
VICTIMS OF THE STRICTLY CURSE
A look back at when The Curse struck… starting all the way back with series 1
Series 1: Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
Strictly hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons during season one. Viewers were transfixed by the apparent close bond between newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and her hunky partner Brendan Cole.
Did they/didn’t they? Natasha and her hunky partner Cole sparked affair rumours
Although the pair went on to win the show, their success was blighted by affair rumours.
BBC presenter Natasha soon split from long-term partner Mike Barnard while Brendan dumped his fiancée and fellow dancer Camilla Dallerup.
Writing in her book Strictly Inspirational, Camilla said their split was like a ‘mini death’.
‘You go through the arc of grief, anger, bitterness,’ she said. ‘My best friend and dancing professionally with Brendan had both gone.’
However, Natasha has always denied any wrongdoing, saying: ‘There was chemistry, of course, and I certainly fell in love with dancing, but I did not fall in love with Brendan.’
Series 5: Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace
Of all the Strictly romances there’s been over the years, this remains one of the most interesting.
Clandestine: Before long gossip was raging about how Flavia and Matt, then 19, were secretly in love
Flavia Cacace was in a long-term relationship with her dance partner Vincent Simone when she was partnered with Matt Di Angelo in 2007. He was eight years her junior.
Before long gossip was raging about how Flavia and Matt, then 19, were secretly in love. Shortly after the show finished she called time on her romance with Vincent and went public with Matt.
Looking back at their partnership, Matt told Daily Mail: ‘It was a pretty crazy time. It was front page news.
‘The funny thing was the story did not start off as true, but the more you read it, the more you started to believe it and actually act on it.’
Their romance ended in 2010, and a few weeks later Flavia admitted she was dating her latest dance partner, actor Jimi Mistry, who she went on to marry.
Series 7: Joe Calzaghe and Kristina Rihanoff
Not to be: Kristina is said to have also wanted children while Joe already has two sons from a previous relationship
Over: Unfortunately for Kara and Artem their relationship didn’t go the distance
Scandal: Kristina was recently forced to defend her romance with Ben
Former boxer Joe Calzaghe split with his girlfriend of five years Jo-Emma Larvin just a week into the show in 2009.
The sportsman began a relationship with Russian dancer Kristina Rihanoff soon afterwards.
The pair enjoyed a four-year romance but parted ways after Joe reportedly asked Kristina not to accept a role dancing in a stage production.
Speaking to Hello! Kristina said: ‘He was sick and tired of waiting around for me, and said that if I truly loved him, I wouldn’t have taken the job in the West End.’
Kristina is said to have also wanted children while Joe already has two sons from a previous relationship.
Series 8: Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev
Unfortunately for Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev their relationship didn’t manage to go the distance.
After winning the show in 2010 the pair hooked up, love quickly blossomed and they moved into a London home together.
However, it’s believed Russian Artem’s visa issues saw him having to spend time apart from Kara for months on end and they eventually decided to call it a day.
Actress Kara welcomed her baby son, Frey with fiancé Marius Jensen in 2018, while Artem has struck up a romance with retired WWE wrestler, Nikki Bella since moving to the US to compete on Dancing With the Stars in 2014.
Series 11: Ben Cohen and Kristina Rihanoff
Kristina Rihanoff was recently forced to defend her romance with Strictly partner Ben Cohen insisting that their relationship only began once his 11 year marriage to wife Abby had come to an end.
‘He left his wife a year ago,’ she told Daily Mirror. ‘Recently we started dating but we’re allowed to see each other as two single people.’
Kristina – who has also dated Vincent Simone and ex partner Joe Calzaghe – said there have been other couples, yet she is the only one to be ‘attacked’.
She said: ‘Ben’s said it many times and I’ll say it again – I wasn’t involved in the breaking up of his marriage.’
Meanwhile Abby described the split and resultant divorce as ‘the most traumatic thing to ever happen to me’.
Ben, 37, met Abby in 1995 at the age of 17, and the couple married in 2003 before welcoming their daughters in 2008.
Series 11: Rachel Riley and Pasha Kovalev
‘It doesn’t exist!’ Rachel brushed aside the fact that The Curse exists, after she left her husband and got together with Pasha
On the same series, Countdown’s math whiz Rachel Riley’s relationship with her pro partner Pasha Kovalev ultimately ended her marriage to her husband of just one year.
She wed Jamie Gilbert in 2012, taking part on 2013’s season of the dancing show. By the end of 2013, they had split and she was with Pasha – which she claims began after the show came to an end.
‘On Strictly, you form a close bond with your partner, but there was nothing romantic when Pasha and I were dancing. It was just dancing,’ she told the Mail the following January, insisting there’s no such thing as The Curse.
‘[Strictly] serves as a magnifying glass that shows up pre-existing fault lines,’ she said, explaining the situation. She is still with Pasha today.
Series 11: Susanna Reid
Epiphany: Shortly after the show ended, Susanna split from her long-term partner Dominic Cotton
Divorcee: Actress Sunetra also announced her marriage split after starring on Strictly
Susanna Reid was another victim of series 11. She was billed as the most popular breakfast TV host and in a 15-year relationship when she reached the Strictly Come Dancing final that year.
However shortly after the show ended, the TV host split from her long-term partner Dominic Cotton.
However, mother-of-three Susanna, who was paired with professional Kevin Clifton, said the programme was not to blame for her love problems.
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna told Daily Mirror: ‘I think people think Strictly was bound up in what happened. It wasn’t. Obviously things have been challenging in my personal life but we are getting things sorted.’
Series 12: Sunetra Sarker
Actress Sunetra Sarker also announced her marriage split after starring on Strictly.
She parted ways with her husband Nick Corfield after ten years of marriage just before the programme hit the screens.
The couple first met in 1989 while on holiday in Jersey and have a 13-year-old son together.
However, she said the romance had ended long before her reality show stint: ‘The truth is three years ago me and my husband amicably split up and it obviously had nothing to do with Strictly.’
The Casualty actress, who plays Dr Zoe Hanna in the BBC medical drama, is now said to be dating business partner Scott Carey. Together, the pair set up the food firm Keep Me Fresh.
Series 12: Caroline Flack
Caroline Flack broke up with her boyfriend of a year and a half, Jack Street, after making her way into the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final.
The price of success: Caroline Flack broke up with her boyfriend of a year and a half, Jack Street, after making her way into the Strictly Come Dancing semi-final
According to The Sun, she was ‘distraught’ backstage at the BBC show, but managed to put on a brave face to wow with her Tango and top the leader board.
A source close to her told the newspaper: ‘It came to a natural end and was mutual.’
Some contestants have ended relationships to engage in a romance with their dance partner on the show, but the source noted that in Caroline’s case, this wasn’t the reason.
‘No one else is involved,’ they stated.
Caroline had been seeing music manager Jack for around 18 months and she previously said that he was fine with her working on the talent show despite its reputation.
‘Jack’s been completely fine about the whole curse thing,’ she said, quoted in The Mirror. ‘He hasn’t once been worried’.
Series 13: Helen George
Over and out: Helen announced her split from husband of three years Oliver Boot, after she was revealed as a contestant (pictured with pro Aljaz Skorjanec)
It did not take long before the dreaded curse of Strictly struck again.
Actress Helen George announced her split from husband of three years, fellow actor Oliver Boot, after she was revealed as a contestant on the show.
‘I can confirm that Helen separated from her husband some time ago,’ a spokesperson for the star said. She has not been linked to any fellow Strictly contestants or professional dancers.
A Royal Academy Of Music graduate, Helen is best known for starring as Nurse Beatrix ‘Trixie’ Franklin in the hit BBC period drama Call The Midwife.
George has also performed as a back-up singer for Sir Elton John and starred in a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel called The Woman In White.
She met her former partner on set of BBC drama Hotel Babylon, and the couple married in December 2012.
Series 13: Georgia May Foote
The actress was in a relationship with her Coronation Street co-star Sean Ward when she took part in the 2015 series of the show.
Break-up: Shortly after Georgina finished runner-up in the final, she announced her split from Sean
But cracks began to show as it was reported that Sean was enraged with jealousy over her decision to take part, and even allegedly accompanied her to rehearsals at the beginning of her Strictly journey.
Shortly after she finished runner-up in the final, she and Sean announced their split – with Georgia seen kissing her dance partner Giovanni Pernice during a romantic trip to Disneyland soon after.
However, shortly before rehearsals for the 2016 series began, Georgia and Giovanni called time on their romance after just a year.
Giovanni has since moved on with 2018 contestant and former Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, while Georgia is dating rapper Kris Evans.
Series 14: Louise and Jamie Redknapp
Divorced: Louise Redknapp appeared on the series in 2016, after which she and Jamie were said to be facing marital issues
Footballer Jamie Redknapp is said to have been offered a place on the Strictly line-up recently, but understandably has refused after the series was blamed for the demise of his marriage to wife Louise.
Louise appeared on the series in 2016, after which she and Jamie were said to be facing marital issues. By the end of 2017, they were divorced.
It was highly-speculated that Louise realised, during the show, that she wanted to get back to work having sacrificed her career for her marriage – with co-star Daisy Lowe said to have helped her ‘rediscover her youth’.
A TV source said: ‘Strictly used to be show that no celebrity ever turned down. But the Curse has changed all that. There is now a genuine concern that appearing on the show can negatively impact relationships. Jamie only has negative feelings about Strictly now. There’s absolutely no way he would appear.’
Louise was also rumoured to have struck up a romantic bond with her pro partner Kevin Clifton, but this has never been confirmed.
Series 14: Kevin and Karen Clifton
Split: The Cliftons – a married pair of pro dancers – split romantically in 2018
Despite the rumours surrounding thrice-married Kevin while he partnered with Louise, nothing seemed to transpire between the two. He was, of course, married at the time too – to fellow pro Karen Clifton.
However, since then, the pair have split up.
Kevin proposed to her, on her birthday, on stage during a performance of Burn the Floor and they wed in July 2015. But in March 2018, they confirmed that they were no longer together romantically.
They have since continued to work together as a pro dance partnership, however, insisting there is no bad blood.
Series 16: Stacey Dooley, Sam Tucknott and Kevin Clifton
We’re done: Stacey’s boyfriend of five years Sam Tucknott, 30, revealed Stacey had left him in an interview with the Mail On Sunday
Stacey’s boyfriend of five years Sam Tucknott, 30, revealed Stacey had left him in an interview with the Mail On Sunday in April. He called her dance partner, three-times married Kevin Clifton, 36, a slippery snake
Sam confronted Kevin in furious video chat where he branded him a ‘proper rat’. He told MoS in an exclusive interview he feels betrayed by the new couple’s romance.
It has been alleged that Stacey and Kevin’s relationship was an ‘open secret’ on the Strictly tour News has cast shadow over latest series of show, resurrecting the so-called ‘Strictly curse’ that has seen 14 couples split.
The TV presenter, 32, broke her silence on Twitter soon after, insisting there ‘are two sides to every story’
All over: In August 2019, just ahead of series 17, Neil and Katya announced their split after 11 years of marriage
Series 16/17: Katya and Neil Jones
2018 saw The Curse strike early on in the season, with drama escalating just three weeks into the live shows.
In a new twist, a love square formed when Katya Jones, who is married to fellow show professional Neil, was snapped all over her celeb partner, comedian Seann Walsh, on the street outside a pub in London. This took part on Sean’s girlfriend’s – actress and writer Rebecca Humphries – birthday, no less.
Dumped: Neil and Katya’s break-up comes 10 months after her kiss with Seann (pictured with ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries)
The pair brushed it off as a ‘one-off mistake’, despite them kissing and laughing brazenly in public. Since then, Rebecca ‘dumped’ Seann via a Twitter statement.
Seann and Katya did not pull out of the show, with their dalliance a gigantic elephant in the room as they still performed on the series, with Neil on set too.
However, In August 2019, just ahead of series 17, Neil and Katya announced their split after 11 years of marriage. The break-up coming just 10 months after her kiss with Seann.
Series 18: Nadiya Bychkova, Matija Škarabot and Kai Widdrington
In January 2022, Nadiya revealed she had split from her fiancé Matija Škarabot, with whom she shares her five-old daughter.
New couple: Fellow professional dancers Nadiya and Kai struck up a romance after she split from her fiancé Matija
The news broke shortly after she had partnered with married BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker and there were rumours of a romance, which they were quick to dispel.
The professional dancer later revealed that she had in fact secretly split from her fiancé before series 18 had even began and during that time she struck up a dancer with fellow pro Kai – who had been romantically linked to his partner that series – AJ Odudu.
While Nadiya did not disclose exactly when she and Kai started dating she said in her first interview about their romance that she found him to be ‘He’s kind and compassionate and makes me laugh. I feel very relaxed with him.’
Series 18: Max George, Stacey Giggs and Maisie Smith
Dancing through life: Max and Maisie struck up a romance after appearing on series 18 of the hit show together
When Max appeared on series 18 of Strictly he was happily loved-up with Stacey, whom he had been dating for four years, with the singer taking on the role of stepfather to her two children.
Yet months after appearing on the show he began a relationship with fellow series 18 star Maisie Smith, who had been linked to singer HRVY during her initial time on the show.
Yet Max and Maisie are said to have grown close on the Strictly live tour, which took place a couple of months after they appeared on the show together.
Stacey then accused her ex of cheating on her with Maisie and reportedly felt ‘betrayed’ by her former beau.
Series 19: Adam Peaty and Eirianedd Munro
Sad: Adam Peaty has split from his girlfriend Eirianedd Munro after three years together and apologised for ‘letting down’ his partner and their son
In an Instagram statement in August 2022, Olympic swimmer Adam took to Instagram to confirm that he and his girlfriend Eirianedd Munro had split after three years together.
He said that the couple had decided to go ‘their separate ways’ but that their son George, who is two next month, remained their ‘priority’.
Announcing the news via social media, Adam wrote: ‘Eiri and George, I’m sorry for letting you down. My only interest is for the well-being of our family at this difficult time.’
The split comes Adam raised eyebrows with his chemistry with pro partner Katya Jones on the dance floor last year, with eagle-eyed fans claiming they thought that they nearly kissed at the end of one steamy routine.
After the incident, Eirianedd admitted she had been ‘really emotional’ after her sportsman beau’s ‘near kiss’ with Katya.
Eirianedd, told fans she took a ‘short break’ from social media after Adam and Katya got very close at the end of their racy Argentine Tango last autumn.
Series 19: Rose Ayling-Ellis and Sam Arnold
Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has wished dance partner Giovanni Pernice a happy birthday after splitting from her long-term boyfriend Sam Arnold.
The EastEnders actress, 27, was with her partner for seven years, with him cheering her on as she lifted the glitterball trophy last year.
Sad: Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis has reportedly split from her long-term boyfriend Sam Arnold (pictured together)
But the couple have reportedly called it quits as Rose continues to throw herself into work after being inundated with offers after winning Strictly.
It comes after it was recently reported that Rose’s friends have expressed doubt over the couple’s future due to their busy work schedules and have said they are worried that the infamous Strictly curse may strike again.
Rose – who has kept her relationship fairly private over the years – holidayed in Barcelona by herself earlier this year.
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