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Strictly star Anton Du Beke reveals he was stabbed by his alcoholic father as a child

Strictly Come Dancing judge Anton Du Beke has revealed he was stabbed by his abusive father when he was a child, leaving him in hospital for three days.

The 57-year-old professional dancer said the assaults, which left him with injuries to his stomach and legs, happened while he was living at the family home on a council estate in Sevenoaks, Kent, the Daily Mail reported.

Du Beke speaks out about his experience on Kate Garraway’s Life Stories in an episode due to air on ITV1 at 9pm tonight. A preview clip was played on Good Morning Britain today.

He says that the revelations may come as a surprise to his friends and family as it is the first time he has spoken about it.

In the documentary, Ms Garraway asks him: “Was the violence towards you?” Du Beke replies: “Me, yeah. I’ve never spoken about this before in my entire life actually. I wanted a new start, and a new beginning. I mean I ended up in hospital for three days”.

Ms Garraway said in the GMB studio on Wednesday: “It was very, very, serious… physically, medically and obviously devastating emotionally.”

She added: “He would go on to say how it didn’t [hold him back] and he would go on to say the triumphs that he’s had and the other struggles that he’s had along the way.

“And that is the thing, isn’t it? That is the lesson that you want youngsters and other people who may be experiencing violent, difficult, disturbing lives to look at and think, ‘Well, we can go forward and not let it define us.’”

Du Beke told Ms Garraway he thought his father’s alcoholism and violence was directed towards him “because I was a boy, a young man I suppose.

“You’ve got an alcoholic father and a situation where if you’re in the house [he’s] drinking then you end up with the fights and stuff.

“You’d move room to get away from all of it and then he follows you in and the next thing you know the violence starts and then it came to a head one evening, I ended up in hospital for three days.”

“I got stabbed in the leg and in the stomach because of a fight on Boxing Day and it was an idiotic situation.” He said he told people he had “pulled a hamstring” when he was asked about his leg injury because he was embarrassed.

Du Beke was the longest-serving professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing, and joined the judging panel after Bruno Tonioli permanently left the show in 2021.

Born to a Spanish mother and Hungarian father, Du Beke discovered his flair for dancing after picking his sister Veronica up from a local studio in the town.

He said his mother encouraged his new hobby, but his father, Antal, “took a turn” against him.

“I can’t really believe I’m talking to you about this. I should’ve glossed over this. Even the thought of that (the attack) being a thing sort of annoys me as well.”

Garraway said Du Beke’s father was cleared in court of wounding his son, but when he died, Anton did not attend his funeral.

He had no contact with his father following his parents’ divorce, and only heard about him again after Antal passed away in 2001.

Discussing the phone call he received from the coroner’s office, Du Beke admitted he told the office to call back after his mother had returned home as he “knew why” they were calling and didn’t want to discuss it.

He said: “I knew he was going to tell me my father had died and I didn’t care. Or want to know. He was a stranger to me. That sounds a bit harsh and I don’t mean to sound like that.

“Everything was about moving forwards. I felt sorry for my mum, this was her husband, she’s working two jobs and he chose to drink and be violent, it’s just life and you carry on.”

He changed his name “from Tony Beke, who grew up on a council estate” to “Anton Du Beke, The Show Man”.

He added: “I wanted a new start and a new beginning and I wanted to leave what went before, behind, and then move on with the rest of my life, I just wanted to be me.”

Du Beke is now married and has two children.

Kate Garraway’s Life Stories is broadcast tonight at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

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