Strictly star Johannes Radebe nearly QUIT the show after being paired with Annabel Croft

Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe has revealed he nearly quit the show after he was paired with Annabel Croft during last year’s series. 

The professional dancer and the tennis champion made it all the way to the semi final after becoming firm favourites with both the public and the judges. 

However originally Johannes wasn’t happy with the producers partnering choice as while Annabel was coming to terms with the death of her husband Mel, Johannes was also dealing with his own grief. 

Speaking on the Table Manners podcast Johannes, who recently announced his memoir is being turned into a movie, revealed that two weeks before the start of Strictly he buried his cousin after he took his own life. 

When he was partnered with Annabel, Johannes confessed that at first he was confused by the producers decision and even toyed with the idea of asking not to have a partner that year. 

Strictly star Johannes Radebe, 36, has revealed he nearly QUIT the show after being paired with Annabel Croft, 57 

Originally Johannes wasn't happy with the producers partnering choice as while Annabel was coming to terms with the death of her husband Mel, Johannes was also dealing with his own grief after his cousin took his own life before Strictly started

Originally Johannes wasn’t happy with the producers partnering choice as while Annabel was coming to terms with the death of her husband Mel, Johannes was also dealing with his own grief after his cousin took his own life before Strictly started 

He explained: ‘When they said I’m dancing with her, I was like, What are they trying to achieve? And I say that because two weeks before I started, I buried my cousin who committed suicide.

‘I didn’t feel anything, I wasn’t as excited as I normally would be, because I was like, this is supposed to be the most exciting period, I’ve just come back off a very successful tour. But I had to then go home [South Africa].

He continued: ‘I could have stayed out there for longer but after we buried him, I had to fly back to the UK and do my audiobook.

‘That was hard, and when Strictly started, I was just like, “Okay, just felt like I was going through the motions.”

‘So you can imagine when they said the partners I was just like “ok great”. I just really wanted to deal with it but you never allow yourself the time to deal with whatever you are going through in your life. 

‘And yeah, they said we think that you’re the person to partner with this woman. I just said to myself, they’re reaching. I remember calling my agent, I was like, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe we should say that I shouldn’t get a partner this year because I just really need some time out.’

However, despite being concerned about how Annabel’s heartache would affect his own, the pair became best pals during the process.

‘I mean, a lot of people say, “Oh Johannes, you helped Annabel” but no, Annabel helped me,’ he said.

He explained: 'When they said I'm dancing with her, I was like, What are they trying to achieve? And I say that because two weeks before I started, I buried my cousin who committed suicide'

He explained: ‘When they said I’m dancing with her, I was like, What are they trying to achieve? And I say that because two weeks before I started, I buried my cousin who committed suicide’

Discussing their firm friendship he added: 'I mean, a lot of people say, "Oh Johannes, you helped Annabel" but no, Annabel helped me'

Discussing their firm friendship he added: ‘I mean, a lot of people say, “Oh Johannes, you helped Annabel” but no, Annabel helped me’

Annabel's husband Mel Coleman died in May of colon cancer just 16 weeks after he was diagnosed and throughout the competition the sportswoman paid tribute to just how much Johannes had helped her

Annabel’s husband Mel Coleman died in May of colon cancer just 16 weeks after he was diagnosed and throughout the competition the sportswoman paid tribute to just how much Johannes had helped her

Following her departure from the show she said her dance partner gave her a reason to get out of bed as she penned an emotional Instagram post

Following her departure from the show she said her dance partner gave her a reason to get out of bed as she penned an emotional Instagram post 

Annabel’s husband Mel Coleman died in May of colon cancer just 16 weeks after he was diagnosed and throughout the competition the sportswoman paid tribute to just how much Johannes had helped her. 

Following her departure from the show she said her dance partner gave her a reason to get out of bed as she penned an emotional Instagram post. 

She wrote: ‘There are SO many things I have to say, so here is a Part 1 reflection on Saturday… What an amazing semi-final and congratulations to all 3 finalists – you are so talented and deserving of your place, in what’s going to be a wonderful final… 

‘Dancing a Salsa on Saturday night and being flung around like a rag doll was not something I will ever forget. I spent half the dance in hysterics, after skidding on the floor and landing on my back, with out of control legs in the air ha ha ha…

‘Thank goodness for the super strong Johannes, who was able to pick me up and land me on my feet, just in time, to hit the beat and carry on partying. What a blast!…

‘The last video was taken in rehearsals when I practiced the entrance from the sky, however seconds before we danced live, the mechanics broke down, so confetti was thrown from a stationary position, instead of the air…

‘It was all SO much fun and I honestly can’t stop laughing when I think about this dance. It’s been one of my favourites this series and a big shout out to the choreographers, I have loved working with you’. 

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