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Strictly Come Dancing’s John Whaite marries partner in ‘simple and perfect’ ceremony

Whaite’s former dance partner Johannes Radebe was among the celebrities who shared congratulatory messages

Katie Rosseinsky
Friday 02 February 2024 11:34 GMT
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John Whaite and Johannes Radebe receive standing ovation for same-sex Strictly dance

Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite has married his long-term partner Paul Atkins.

The Great British Bake Off winner, who took part in the BBC dance competition in 2021, confirmed the happy news on Instagram, sharing a series of black and white photos from their celebrations in New York.

“Our big day in the Big Apple,” he wrote, adding: “Mr & Mr.”

The photos showed the couple kissing and walking through the streets of New York, with Whaite dressed in a kilt for the occasion.

The 34-year-old, who made Strictly Come Dancing history in 2021 as one half of the BBC show’s first ever same-sex male couple, also shared a quote from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” the statement read.

“In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death.”

In a comment on his post, Whaite described the wedding as “a simple and perfect day”.

The couple have been together for more than 15 years and have been engaged since 2017, although Whaite admitted last year that they “spent some time apart” shortly after his time on Strictly came to an end.

In an interview with The Times, he admitted that he “fell in love” with his dance partner Johannes Radebe. “I can’t speak for [Radebe] – because I’m not allowed to, legally – but it felt like there was love here,” he added.

Whaite, who reached the show’s 2021 final with Radebe, revealed that he discussed his feelings with his fiancé, explaining that “Paul of all people deserved to understand how I was feeling”.

“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,” he said.

“But love can’t just be directed to one person. The heart can easily split into two or three or four. And those loves aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Whaite, right, with dance partner Johannes Radebe (BBC)

After the couple reunited following their brief split, Whaite decided to keep his distance from Radebe, explaining: “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.”

Radebe was among the celebrities to share well wishes for the newlyweds, writing “Massive congratulations” on Whaite’s Instagram post.

Radebe addressed Whaite’s revelation shortly after his interview last year, noting that he was “keen” to emphasise “the platonic nature of their connection”.

“We have gone on to have such a beautiful experience together that it would be a shame if we were not friends after all that,” he told The Times.

“What we agreed is that, regardless of what life throws at us, we will always keep [this friendship] going. ‘We are friends for life,’ I always say to him. ‘I know where you live. You cannot get rid of me.’ I still speak to him.”

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