Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke has revealed a cringe-worthy moment when a girlfriend he liked left him to be with his friend instead, explaining that the experience made him less interested in girls and more determined to become a professional dancer. “I met this girl called Vanessa – she was a proper girlfriend,” he recalled to Gyles Brandreth on his podcast, Rosebud, before admitting things swiftly went sour.
“The humiliation of being dumped by her and then you find out she started dating one of your mates,” he shuddered. “It sort of led me to leave town. I’m gonna move to the north of England, please, because it’s just awful!”
In fact, that teenage experience seems to have been so traumatic for the BBC star that his interest in dating dwindled altogether. “I started dancing seriously [at the age of 14] and I didn’t really get involved with girlfriends [anymore] in the traditional sense,” the 57-year-old explained.
He then opted to leave school the following year, recalling that academia wasn’t for him either. “I didn’t do any of the exams. I just wandered off,” the Strictly star explained.
Over the next two years, he had a spell working in a factory, before becoming a bakery employee – but admitted he was “only working to fund the dancing”. By this point, he already had an ambition to become a professional on the dancefloor, despite his late father despising the idea.
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During his training, Anton admitted he “didn’t like anyone” who was around him, as he “wanted a seat at the top table” and saw more experienced dancers who’d been practising their craft since childhood as too “smug”.
The fiercely ambitious star, who attended a local dance school in Sevenoaks, Kent, admitted he realised he’d come to his profession “late”, but continued to be “driven” to reach the top.
Later in his teens, he landed a job as a salesman by day, but had a secret life as a dancer in the evening and at weekends.
It wasn’t until he reached his 30s that he began to achieve real mainstream success, winning the New Zealand Championships with pro partner Erin Boag in 1998 and 1999.
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By 2004, he’d landed a role on Strictly, and he hasn’t left the BBC show since, although he is now on the judging panel.
Over the years, he’s danced alongside celebrities such as EastEnders’ Patsy Palmer, GMB presenter Kate Garraway, tennis champ Andy Murray’s mum Judy, and even Conservative politician Anne Widdecombe.
Meanwhile, despite his earlier decision to turn away from romance, Anton had a change of heart in later life and is now married to Hannah Summers, with whom he shares six-year-old twins.
He went on to describe fatherhood as the “best thing” that had ever happened to him.
For the full interview with Anton du Beke listen to Gyles Brandreth’s Rosebud podcast here.
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