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John Whaite discusses Strictly Come Dancing ‘curse’ that saw him ‘fall in love’ with pro Johannes Rabede

John Whaite has said his heart was “torn in two” when he fell for his Strictly Come Dancing dance partner Johannes Rabede while engaged to Paul Aktins.

The Great British Bake Off star teamed up with the 36-year-old dancing professional on the 2021 series and recently admitted that he almost fell victim to the show’s famous curse.

In an interview to promote his memoir Dancing On Eggshells, the 34-year-old admitted that he “fell in love” with Rabede while engaged to his partner of 15 years Paul, who he is still with now.

He recently told The Times: “I fell in love with him. I can’t speak for him – because I’m not allowed to, legally – but it felt like there was love there.”

Whaite and Johannes Radebe were runners-up on the 2021 series (PA Archive)
Whaite and Johannes Radebe were runners-up on the 2021 series (PA Archive)

Now, speaking about the revelation, Whaite revealed on Thursday’s Lorraine: “What I have to say is how blooming great it is that the gays are getting embroiled in the Strictly scandal!

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“Because before, we were just on the sidelines, but now, the gays are involved in the Strictly curse. So for me, this is a sign of progress.”

Explaining why he decided to share his experience, the TV personality said: “The reason I’ve spoken about that story and specifically with Johannes’s consent and my partner’s consent – I haven’t written anything that people didn’t want me to write – is to illustrate the point that, life is difficult.

“We are fragile human beings and our hearts sometimes can be torn into two, and sometimes you have to take stock and just think to yourself, ‘Who am I, what [are] my values, and how do I get back to that?’

“And the point of the whole book is a story of love. It’s about showing people, anyone at home, it’s okay to be a vulnerable human being, to make a mess and to start again. You can always start again.”

Whaite told host Christine Lampard that without his “partnership with Paul, where we speak candidly and honestly about how we feel, I don’t know where I would be in life”.

Following his stint on the BBC series, the Channel 4 star said that they temporarily “spent some time apart”, with Atkins moving home with his parents while Whaite “sat on the patio, drinking bottle after bottle of sauvignon blanc”.

However, the couple are back together, and Whaite says he now intentionally keeps his distance from Radebe as “I have to be mindful that there’s more than my own desires to consider here”.

He said: “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.”