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Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood on his past sugar daddy: ‘I got something from it and he got something from it’

"He was supportive of everything I was doing, dance-wise, and getting me through difficult times."

By Alastair James

Craig Revel Horwood
Craig Revel Horwood (Image: ITV)

Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood, has spoken frankly about a former “sugar daddy relationship” of his.

The 58-year-old performer and judge on the BBC One reality show will return along with the show this weekend.

Recently Horwood spoke with The Guardian where he opened up about past relationships, as well as living through the Aids crisis in the 1980s.

Horwood was asked about his relationship with an older man, which he’s previously described in his memoir, All Balls and Glitter: My Life, as a “business arrangement.”

Horwood was 17 and working as a cameraman at a TV station in Australia when he started a relationship with the then 40-year-old colleague.

“It was a sugar daddy relationship, simple as” – Craig Revel Horwood

Reflecting on the relationship, which saw the older man take Horwood to London and New York for shows as well as pay for dance classes in exchange for a sexual relationship, Horwood had no regrets.

“No. I didn’t feel it was wrong. For me, it was a relationship in that way. It wasn’t rent on the corner of the street. It was a sugar daddy relationship, simple as.”

He also said it never felt like he was being exploited.

“I got something from it and he got something from it, and then we went our separate ways. It could have been worse, I suppose.

“He was supportive of everything I was doing, dance-wise, and getting me through difficult times. Someone I could talk to – so for me, it was a learning experience, it taught me a lot and it wasn’t abusive in any way.”

The Strictly judge and Annie star also touched on working in theatre in Australia during the Aids crisis.

“A lot of my friends died and I had to witness that. They were 21-year-olds dying, 22-year-olds, people who hadn’t even lived their lives. I sometimes wonder, how did I escape that?”

He lamented the way people and the media labeled Aids as the “gay plague,” and how ill-informed people were at the time, to the point people were scared of catching it by going to see a show.

He said that working helped.

“Theatre people are wonderful, they create families together. But what could you do? Nothing, except protect yourself. It was just a really sad time. Young, vibrant, amazing people having to deal with mortality and death.”

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One and the BBC iPlayer on Saturday 16 September at 18:35pm.