John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have opened up about their close friendship as they prepare for Strictly's live tour.
The pair made the final of last year's competition and will head out on the show's live arena tour this month.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, the duo spoke about their closeness after being partnered with each other in the first male coupling on the dancing show.
John told hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley: “The beautiful thing about what Strictly has given to me is how important empathy is. Empathy is really one of the only things as human beings we need to survive with each other.
“Being in this situation. we’ve shared our stories from our childhood, from our history. We’ve cried together about it. We’ve been really open and honest about our individual and independent journeys as where we are today as two men on the screen.”
He continued: “It’s such an intimate process. When you spend 10 hours a day, five-six days a week with someone, you expect there to be a lot of clashing, but we didn’t. We always spoke very honestly about how we both felt, if there was something I was anxious about in a dance or if there was something I wasn’t getting.
“We had a few cross words, let’s face it, we’re human beings, we fell out once or twice, but we didn’t let it get us for long, did we?”
Johannes said: “No.”
John went on to admit: “When I got offered to do it, I thought maybe I should dance with a straight man because I just thought the flack we would receive as two gay men would be insurmountable. We were both conditioned to expect that - we were both bullied at school and trolling has never been as bad as it is now.”
He continued: “We both kind of felt that separately, only when we came together did we realise we had that same trepidation, that same anxiety. We were pleased to say the love we received far outweighed any trolling.”
The Bake Off star added: “The amount of support we’ve had from people saying… even when people say things like, ‘I was very doubtful that this would work, but it’s changed my point of view’. How great is that?
“You don’t have to be angry that they once had that opinion. What we have to celebrate is the fact they were open minded enough to watch us and actually change their opinion and that is how change is created - slowly, gently, small baby steps to fabulous music and lots of brilliant costumes, darling.”
Johannes said: “It has given me a lot of confidence to go out into the world and know that it is okay to be who you are. It was absolutely beautiful because even my family back home, they’re different people because of this, so it’s really been amazing.”
Good Morning Britain weekdays from 6am on ITV and ITV Hub