Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke opened up about the lie he told family and friends to cover for his alcoholic dad stabbing him in the leg and stomach as a child
Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke is all smiles in the ballroom, but has been through very difficult and traumatic times behind closed doors.
The BBC One star, now 57, experienced a tough upbringing at home, and admitted earlier this year that his alcoholic father once stabbed him as a child, and put him in hospital for three days. Anton kept the violent drunken attack a secret for decades from many of his close family and friends, who only found out about the shocking incident when he tearfully opened up on Kate Garraway’s Life Stories in August 2023.
Anton candidly told his former Strictly partner that his late father Antal stabbed him in the leg and the stomach when he was younger. The dancer was so ’embarrassed’ by what had happened that he told people it was a hamstring injury to cover for him. The Strictly star was inundated with kind comments from heartbroken fans after he made the confession on television.
Anton then bravely opened up about the revelation in an interview with the Mirror earlier this year. “It wasn’t something I planned to talk about… it just sort of came out. But I’ve had some lovely responses. People have sent me lovely messages, which is the loveliest thing,” he said. Anton added that many charities have thanked him publicly for speaking out.
“If people, or someone, take courage from it, then that’s a good thing. That’s a great thing,” he said. The professional dancer was praised for not only inspiring those who are currently suffering to get help, but also for showing that it’s never too late to talk about trauma. Anton is currently in his second year as a full-time judge on Strictly, and lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife, Hannah, and their twins, George and Henrietta, six.
Anton started ballroom dancing at the age of 13, and was the only boy in the class, in his hometown of Sevenoaks, Kent, to do so. Knowing what we now know about his home life, it’s clear why Anton can appreciate what an escape somewhere like a dance school can be. He recalled to the Mirror: “I started dancing in a dusty old Scout hut on a Wednesday. I never told anybody in school – I probably would have been bullied. It’s different times now.”
Anton’s two children both love to dance, and their doting dad is happy to encourage them. He said: “You don’t want to dampen that sort of expressive naturalness about them. Six year olds just feel it and they do it. You want that childish joy and enthusiasm that they bring to everything. You don’t want to knock that out of them, so it’s great for them to have an avenue to go and express.”
When Anton was older, he worked at a bakery in the early hours of the morning to fund his dancing career. Reflecting on his life as a 21-year-old budding dancer, he said: “I would have been dancing, competing, practicing and flying about trying to get better, that was my life really. I have literally been dancing every day of my life and also at 21 I think I was working in a bakery. I would have started work at the bakery at three o’clock in the morning, and then dancing at night and competing at weekends. Baker by day, dancer by night!”
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