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Strictly's Johannes Radebe reveals how pairing with John Whaite affected relationship with his mother

The couple are competing in this weekend's Grand Final

Strictly Come Dancing stars Johannes Radebe and John Whaite have already made history this year as the BBC show's first-ever all-male partnership - and this weekend, they're gearing up to see if they can also be the first same-sex winners of the show too.

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Chatting to Rylan Clark at this week's Strictly press conference, Johannes revealed that even if they don't take home the Glitterball Trophy, he'll still feel like a winner thanks to an unexpected upside of this year's series. "My mum's relationship with me has improved, and it has improved because of this partnership," he said of his pairing with the Great British Bake Off star at the virtual event. "And so for that, I have won."

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WATCH: Johannes Radebe and John Whaite crack viewers up in hidden mic clip

He explained: "I've won because my mum follows my journey with John religiously which is something that hasn't happened in I don't know how long. If anything, that for me is the biggest takeaway from this partnership."

MORE: Exclusive: John Whaite reveals big future plans with Johannes after Strictly

MORE: Is Strictly's Johannes Radebe related to footballer Lucas Radebe?

The South African-born dancer, who has been part of the show since 2018, explained that his mum was initially uncertain of how to react when she first learnt that Johannes and John had been paired together. "When I told her about the partnership, she said: 'Oh, you're dancing with a man' and I said "Yes mummy, I'm dancing with a man and his name is John,' and there was this awkward silence.

"But I think like everybody else, she wanted to wait to see how it would play out because she's such a traditionalist. I remember our first Tango she called me, and she was like: 'Well, that was brilliant.'"

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Johannes has opened up about an unexpected upside of his partnership with John

Johannes has previously opened up about his special relationship with his mother, Jacobeth, who still lives in Sasolburg, the South African township where the ballroom pro grew up.

Chatting to HELLO! back in 2020, he credited his mother for her strength after his father died when he was 12 and how, despite facing financial hardship, she encouraged his ballroom dreams.

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Johannes spoke about his mum in an exclusive HELLO! interview in 2020

"We struggled financially but whatever we lacked she made up for with love," he said. "I learned that as long as you have a hot meal, a bed and roof over your head, you should be grateful. Above all, Mum taught me how to love and for the people around you to feel loved. I respect and applaud her. She has done a phenomenal job and she's unique; my best friend."

MORE: Strictly stars John Whaite and Johannes Radebe on the 'impact' of their partnership

Jacobeth, 62, also spoke about the bullying her son suffered at the hands of homophobic bullies who made fun of his sexuality and his passion for dance while growing up.

"I couldn't fight the world for my son but I made sure he was loved and that he treated everyone with respect and kindness. Where are those bullies now who were mocking the very thing that launched him into his destiny? I'm immensely proud and happy for him. When I watch him dance it feels surreal. What blows my mind is that it's real and he's my son."

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