Sadly, former Arsenal player and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Tony Adams won’t be heading to the bright lights of the Tower Ballroom for the show’s traditional Blackpool week, as the ex-footballer was forced to bow out of the competition early. Adams’ departure was announced by Tess Daly ahead of the Sunday night show’s dance-off, with the presenter telling the audience that he had sustained an injury and would be withdrawing from the competition.
“It’s been emotional, guys,” Adams said, following the revelation. ”I cried for the first month. I came in here with one message: If you’ve got an issue with mental health, then please don’t suffer in silence, and reach out for help.” The footballer gave up drinking alcohol twenty-six years ago, and has been open about his experiences of addiction and getting jailed for driving under the influence in 1990. He is now a campaigner on the issue of mental health, and founded the mental health organisation Sporting Chance.
“Little did I know that I was going to learn a lot about myself in the process. I thought this ‘journey’ rubbish was nonsense, but my god, the rollercoaster of emotion,” he said, paying tribute to his pro dance partner Katya Jones. “I’ve got to be honest, it’s tough, physically it’s really tough out there, but dancing is really fantastic for you. Go out there and enjoy it and pick up new skills and explore. I suppose I had better mention this one [Katya Jones], hadn’t I? She is an exceptional human being, she really is.”
Along the way, the dance partners have had a rocky ride, often ending up at the bottom of the leaderboard despite being many viewers’ underdog choice. On the previous episode of Strictly, eagle-eyed viewers spotted the pair having a heated conversation during the final credits, and they later confirmed they were discussing mistakes in their routine from earlier in the night. Brushing off the incident, Jones joked during an appearance on Good Morning Britain: “We just don’t like each other at all, we don’t get on!”
Meanwhile, taking to Instagram with an emotive post after it was announced that she and Adams were bowing out, Jones wrote: “I’ll be forever grateful that I was partnered up with you. And do you know what I loved? I loved us. I loved that we didn’t care what people thought. We did every single dance our way! You have come here with a message, you led by example and put yourself out there, and showed everyone you can do anything.”