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Strictly's Annabel Croft brings judges to tears after incredibly moving gesture during routine

Annabel and Johannes Radebe held back tears on the show

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe perform their couple's choice routine
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior Features Writer
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Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe brought the judging panel and audience to tears with their incredibly moving couple's choice routine during Saturday's Strictly Come Dancing.

The former tennis professional and Johannes took to the floor to perform a moving slow dance that Annabel dedicated to her late husband of 36 years, Mel Coleman, following his death earlier this year. 

Before the pair began their dance, Annabel was speaking during her VT about the impact Mel's death has had on her whole family and her three children, which you can watch in the video below.

WATCH: Annabel Croft in tears while discussing late husband on Strictly

At the end of the routine, Annabel blew a kiss in the air in a beautiful gesture for her late husband. Both Annabel and Johannes were holding back the tears as they embraced in a hug before approaching the panel for their comments.

Head judge Shirley Ballas was seen holding onto tissues as she wiped her eyes and thanked Annabel for telling her story.

Craig Revel Horwood said: "I feel like he is with you here tonight." Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke were also full of praise for the star for bravely opening up about her grief and performing a gorgeous routine.

MORE: Inside Strictly star Ellie Leach's love life 

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Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe ,**Publication of this image is strictly embargoed until 20:30 hours Saturday 4th November 2023**,BBC,Guy Levy© Guy Levy
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe were emotional during their routine

The 57-year-old has previously opened up about her grief since losing Mel suddenly in May, just a few months after he was diagnosed with stage three cancer.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Friday alongside her professional dance partner, Annabel admitted how the show has been a lifeline for her when it comes to giving her purpose every day.

Mel Coleman and Annabel Croft attend the inaugural British Ballet Charity Gala presented by Dame Darcey Bussell at The Royal Albert Hall on June 03, 2021© Dave Benett
Annabel Croft's husband Mel died in May

"It has come at such an incredibly difficult time in my life, a very dark time, but you [Johannes] have brought so much light to my life, honestly, you have been an angel, so thank you," the former athlete said.

"I don't know where I would be if I hadn't had Strictly Come Dancing at this period of time because it has been such a distraction away from terrible grief and you know, I had no concept of what grief was. So, to be able to get up in the morning and to have a purpose rather than just sobbing at home, even though that still happens."

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe dancing a quickstep© Guy Levy
Annabel Croft with her partner Johannes Radebe

Annabel and Mel met soon after she retired from professional tennis at the age of 21 and during their 36-year-long marriage they welcomed three children together, Charlie, Amber and Lily.

"Mel was my biggest supporter, my protector. He gave me confidence," the mother-of-three told the Daily Mail previously. "He made things right, always had done. I wanted to talk to him. I wanted to say: 'I am really nervous for [Strictly], but I don't have you to make it OK.'"