Strictly’s Johannes: Dancing with Graziano made me feel so liberated

Strictly fans in tears over show's first same-sex dance

Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe says he feels accepted for the first time in his life as he made history on the show by dancing with another man.

The professional dancer and Latin champion, who was axed from the competition last week with actress Catherine Tyldesley, took to the floor with fellow pro Graziano Di Prima on Sunday night for the first dance to feature two male professionals performing together.

He told Hello magazine: "I've never felt so liberated. For the first time in my life, I feel accepted for who I am. That says so much about the people of this country.

Johannes Radebe and Catherine Tyldesley (Hello)

"To be able to dance with a friend I respect and adore is joyous. There's bromance galore between us, but there were no male and female roles, just free movement. It was beautiful, classy and elegant." Radebe added that partnering with Tyldesley played an important part in his feeling of acceptance.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Alex Scott onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Jamie Laing and David James arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Anneka Rice and Karim Zeroual arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley and James Cracknell arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley and James Cracknell arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Emma Barton and Dev Green onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli arrive onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Anton du Beke and Dianne Buswell perform onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Neil and Katya Jones perform onstage during the BBC Strictly Come Dancing Launch at Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Dianne Buswell at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Oti Mabuse at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Gorka Marquez at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Karen Hauer at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Graziano di Prima at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Nancy Xu at the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Launch at BBC Broadcasting House. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Nancy Xu at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Nadiya Bychkova at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Anton Du Bek at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Katya Jones at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Nadiya Bychkova at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Neil Jones at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Giovanni Pernice at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Janette Manrara at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Catherine Tyldesley at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Saffron Barker at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Bruno Tonioli at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Giovanni Pernice, Neil Jones, Gorka Marquez, Aljaz Skorjanec, Johannes Radebe, Anton du Beke, AJ Pritchard, Kevin Clifton and Graziano Di Prima at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Luba Mushtuk, Karen Hauer, Oti Mabuse, Katya Jones, Nadiya Bychkova, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Nancy Xu and Janette Manrara at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Luba Mushtuk at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Kevin Clifton at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Amy Dowding at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/08/26: Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing Launch at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Dianne Buswell attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Anton du Beke and Bruno Tonioli attend the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)
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Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2019 - TX: 16/11/2019 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing 2019 - TX9 LIVE SHOW (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Michelle Visage, Giovanni Pernice - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
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He said: "Aunty Cath, as I call her, has been supportive of me from the start.

"It was my first time to be paired with a dance partner and I didn't want to fail her. That was my biggest fear. I wanted to make sure I gave her the best experience of her life.

"But I was so lucky to be paired up with the UK's sweetheart. She was on Team Johannes from day one. She made me believe in myself more.

"All of a sudden it was like, just be who you are; don't worry about anything.

"It's so lovely to be embraced for who I am, to not have to hold back."

Tyldesley added: "We just clicked from the start. As well as being a wonderful teacher, he has the most genuine beautiful soul.

"He's kind, honest and giving with everyone he meets and I trust him implicitly. I tell him stuff I wouldn't tell most people. We're friends for life and I feel so grateful to have found him."

(Hello)

The full interview is in Hello, out now.

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