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John Whaite Reveals He Secretly Fell For His 'Strictly' Dance Partner Johannes Radebe

John Whaite Reveals He Secretly Fell For His 'Strictly' Dance Partner

John Whaite and Johannes Radebe
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

The Great British Bake Off winner dishes on the forbidden romance & what it meant for his relationship.

simbernardo

John Whaite made history by becoming the first all-male same-sex pairing in Strictly Come Dancing with partner Johannes Radebe — and now he's opening up about how it led to him falling in love, despite being in a relationship already.

Best known for winning the third season of The Great British Bake Off, Whaite is one of the most popular gay reality TV stars in the UK.

In 2021, he and Radebe partnered up on Strictly Come Dancing where the duo finished as the runners-up of the competition.

During a recent interview with The Times, Whaite revealed that he actually “fell in love” with Radebe after meeting him on Strictly. He added, “I can’t speak for him – because I’m not allowed to, legally – but it felt like there was love there.” This might be related to contractual obligations that professional dancers on Strictly can’t get romantically attached to their partners in the series, but Whaite doesn’t clarify what those “legal” reasons are.

“So yes, I fell in love with Johannes,” Whaite further explained. “I still love Johannes. Of course I do.”

Whaite had already been in a relationship with graphic designer Paul Atkins at the time. The couple got engaged in 2017, and as of 2023, they’ve been together for 15 years. Thus, Whaite’s newfound love for Radebe did interfere in his relationship with Atkins. The reality TV star noted in the interview:

“You go through life being told that you’ll fall in love with someone, you’ll get married, you’ll have children, and that’s it. But love can’t just be directed to one person. The heart can easily split into two or three or four. Those loves aren’t mutually exclusive.”

While many couples have agreed-upon open relationships, it appears that Whaite and Atkins experienced some rough times and “spent some time apart” while he competed on Strictly and developed feelings for Radebe.

In the end, however, Whaite concluded that he needed to preserve his relationship with Atkins above all else. “I look at [Atkins] and what he’s put up with over the years and how he’s nurtured me and stood by me, and who would throw that away? I couldn’t,” Whaite said. “And also for [Radebe], he needs to move on with his life too.”

Honestly, it sounds incredibly dramatic and challenging for all parties involved. Fortunately, it seems to have come to a happy ending.

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Bernardo Sim

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Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim experiences and explains queer multiverses. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.