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JJ Chalmers reveals difficulties of being separated from wife and children during Strictly

The former Marine shares two children with his wife Kornelia

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Like his fellow Strictly Come Dancing contestants and the show's professional dancers, JJ Chalmers is facing the difficulty of being away from his family as he competes in the show.

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The former Marine, who has made it to the final six couples in the BBC competition, has been separated from his wife Kornelia and their two children, Hayley, four, and one-year-old James, since October.

Speaking to HELLO! last month, JJ admitted it's been "really difficult" being apart from his family, but he uses FaceTime to keep in touch. "My daughter was so excited I was learning to dance," he said. "She watched the first show and asked: 'Does that mean Daddy's coming home now?'"

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"Kornelia believes in me like no one else," he added. "She has the far more challenging end of this at home with two kids."

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JJ has certainly impressed viewers and judges with his moves on the Strictly dancefloor, leading fans to dub him this year's dark horse. He and pro dance partner Amy Dowden have their eyes on the Glitterball trophy, with Amy hoping to go one step further than last year, when she made the final with Karim Zeroual.

"Making it to the final last year has given me extra drive to win," she said. JJ is equally determined, adding: "Amy fills me with an immense sense of confidence. The sky is the limit."

jj chalmers amy dowden shoot© Photo: HELLO!

JJ is paired with Amy this year

The TV presenter, who served in the Royal Marines for more than ten years, suffered life-changing injuries during his service, including the loss of two fingers, a shattered right elbow, a collapsed eye socket and leg and facial wounds following an improvised explosive device being triggered in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2011. Two of his friends died in the blast.

Strictly is JJ's way of thanking the "thousands of people to whom I owe my recovery", which involved intense rehabilitation and hundreds of hours of surgery, including facial reconstruction and work to replace his severed tricep tendon with muscle lining from his leg.

"I'll never be able to look into the eyes of every person who has helped me. The only way I can do it is show them that their efforts were worth it," he said.

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