Inside Strictly's Johannes Radebe's life - romance, bullying, and rise to fame

Asia's Tech News Daily

Johannes Radebe has become one of the most popular professionals on Strictly Come Dancing.

The South African professional dancer joined the BBC series in 2018, and since then, avid fans have fallen in love with his unique personality and eccentric style.

This year, the 34-year-old has made history after being paired with former Great British Bake Off star John Whaite- making the first all male couple to compete on the show.

Last year, Johannes stormed the dancefloor alongside celebrity partner Caroline Quentin, and in 2019, he was teamed up with Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley.

But when he’s not lighting up our Saturday nights with his inventive choreography and loveable personality, Johannes still likes to keep things fabulous – filling his Instagam page with snippets of his life from impromptu dance routines, days out with friends and even the odd sultry selfies.

Here’s everything you need to know about the star….

© BBC The star appeared on Dancing With The Stars in South Africa
© Instagram/ @johannesradebe Johannes hails from South Africa

Before joining Strictly Come Dancing, Johannes danced on the South African version of the show – Dancing With the Stars.

During his time on the show, Johannes proved that he was top of his game as he reached the final of the show not once, but twice.

And before he turned his dance career into a joint TV career, Johannes was part of the Afro Arimba Dance Company.

The Strictly star is also a proud two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and three-time South African Amateur Latin Champion.

Upon joining Strictly, the humble star said the opportunity to join the legendary BBC show was life-changing for him.

Johannes gushed: “Joining Strictly Come Dancing is one of the greatest achievements of my dancing career.

“It is such an honour to be chosen to be a part of an incredible cast and be part of one of the biggest shows that is celebrated worldwide.”

Dancing through the hard times

© Instagram/ @johannesradebe The star has always found comfort in dance
© Instagram/ @johannesradebe Johannes came out as gay to his family when he was a young teen

Johannes has previously opened up about how his passion for dance helped him through one of the toughest and darkest periods in his life.

The South African star recalled his dance studio being a ‘refuge’ for him after he came out as homosexual and faced an onslaught of bullying throughout his teenage years.

The professional dancer knew from a young age that he was gay, as did his family – who never made him feel bad about his sexuality and supported him through the hard times.

Despite this, not everyone took it so well.

Johannes was bullied for throughout his childhood and into his teenage years, and while the resilient star did get down about it, when he danced and spent time in the dance studio, he knew where he belonged.

© BBC Since he joined the show in 2018, he has been an advocate for same-sex couple pairings

The Strictly star previously opened up about his experience, writing in the Metro: “As a young boy in South Africa, my family clearly knew I was ‘special’ – in the best way possible – but they never acted like there was anything different about me.

“I am grateful they never imposed ideas about sexuality on me – be that straight or gay – and I was allowed to just be a child.”

Johannes went on: “While I witnessed homophobia in the outside world and experienced bullying, my home and the dance studio were my refuge.

“It was a safe haven where I could just be me.”

Love life

Strictly fans will know that Johannes doesn’t give much away when it comes to his love life.

While many BBC viewers have suspected that the Strictly curse could strike between Johannes and his partner John, the pair have gushed over their strong friendship, bating away any speculation.

Johannes has not been linked to any other stars or celebrities outside of Strictly, but he has been a huge driving force behind the shows diverse and celebratory dance routine over the past few years.

The talented dancer has been an advocate for same-sex pairings since he joined the show in 2018.

And back in 2019, he and fellow professional Graziano di Prima performed the first ever same-sex dance on the show.

© BBC Johannes danced alongside Gorka Marquez and Giovanni Pernice as part of a tribute to Priscilla Queen of the Desert

The pair left Strictly viewers with goosebumps as they stormed the dancefloor to dance to a live performance from Emeli Sande.

At the time, Johannes said that he “couldn’t have been happier” to have been a apart of such an incredible moment in Strictly history.

The South African star was also the lead dancer during the shows first drag performance.

Johannes danced alongside Gorka Marquez and Giovanni Pernice as part of a tribute to Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Gushing about his incredible achievement, he said: “Since that dance in heels, I’ve gone on to perform the show’s first same-sex partner dance with Graziano – which was so special and I couldn’t have been happier to be the face of it.”

Social media ban

© PA Johannes is a part of the first male same-sex partnership

While Johannes boasts a huge social media presence with nearly 300,000 Instagram followers and xx Twitter followers, this year he explained to loyal fans the sad reason they wouldn’t be seeing as much of him.

Tweeting for the first time since the live shows kicked off this week, Johannes admitted that he’d made the conscious decision to step away from social media due to the ‘ignorance and stupidity’ of some people in regards to his partnership with John on Strictly.

While he had been steering clear of the trolls, the professional said he had peeked at some of comments three weeks in and was astounded by the reaction.

“I’ve been avoiding Twitter because it can be brutal, BUT there’s been more love and support than ignorance and stupidity, hence I want to say thank you to everyone who gets it. We will continue showing up and thank you for your lovely messages/comments. Love Jo. X”

Growing in popularity

© Instagram/ @johannesradebe BBC viewers have begged bosses to give Johannes his own show
© Instagram/ @johannesradebe The star is hugely popular

Ever since he first shot onto screens back in 2018, Strictly’s Johannes continues to steal the hearts of the nation.

The bubbly star’s colourful personality has continued to shine – not just on the BBC One show, but also on an array of other TV appearances.

Johannes showed a different side to himself when he signed up to Celebrity MasterChef and took part in Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel earlier this year.

Although he proved that his general knowledge skills weren’t up to scratch, the star showed a completely different side to himself as he let his hair down on the comical gameshow.

Following his appearance, TV fans pleaded with BBC bosses to give the star his own show.

Johannes will be back in the hot seat on Saturday night when Strictly continues at 7.10pm on BBC One.

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