BBC Strictly's Johannes Radebe pays poignant tribute to Annabel Croft's late husband Mel after show exit

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe were both in tears

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe were both in tears during Monday's It Takes Two

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 12/12/2023

- 09:10

The Strictly pair narrowly missed out on a spot in the finale

Johannes Radebe has taken to social media to share a heartfelt message to celeb partner Annabel Croft and her family after the pair were eliminated from this year's Strictly.

The former tennis pro and her dance partner were voted off the show at the semi-final stage after they took on EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier and dancer Dianne Buswell in the dance-off.

Both Radebe and Croft were overcome with emotion when they bid farewell to the show on Sunday evening, and were similarly left in tears during a joint interview on Monday's It Takes Two.

Croft's Strictly journey has been particularly poignant for her as she's openly admitted it's helped her to deal with the grief of her husband Mel Coleman's death.

Coleman, who'd been married to Croft for over three decades, died at the age of 60 in May this year of cancer just eight weeks after initially complaining of stomach pains.

She and Radebe left viewers in tears when they paid a touching tribute to Coleman through their Couple's Choice routine earlier in the series and now, the Strictly pro has taken to social media to commend Coleman as an "incredible man".

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe shared a touching post with Annabel and her family


Sharing a photo alongside Croft and her family, Radebe penned in the caption: "I am overwhelmed by messages and kind words and I would love to say thank you to each and everyone of you for your love and support, and for taking the time to vote throughout this season of strictly.

"There are no words to say how much Annabel, Amber, Lilly and Charlie mean to me," Radebe continued.

Paying tribute to Coleman, he added: "I wish I had known Mel - he must have been an incredible man to have such a beautiful family. I hope we did you proud."

Turning his attention back to Croft, Radebe said: "Annabel you will always have my heart and a big thank you to your wonderful children because we couldn't have done this without their support. I end this season with the most wonderful memories to cherish and friends for life.

WATCH NOW: Annabel Croft and husband Mel appear on GB News in 2022

"I’d like to say a huge thank you to @bbcstrictly for sending Annabel my way and also to everyone involved in the making of this show.

"This experience wouldn’t be what it is without you and I am grateful to be a part of this. You are all amazing.

"Congratulations to this year’s finalists, I am sending you all my love and good luck for the final show."

Inevitably, a number of Radebe's followers flocked to the comments to show their support for the dancer - including Croft herself.

Johannes and Annabel's Couple's Choice

Johannes and Annabel's Couple's Choice was dedicated to Mel


The former tennis pro wrote: "Love you so much @johannesradebe - you know you are part of our family now," followed by a series of love heart emojis.

Her son Charlie Coleman also reciprocated Radebe's kind words as he replied: "We love having you round and it’s been our pleasure to get to know you - what a team."

And Croft and Coleman's daughter Lily echoed: "Love you so much!!! Can’t wait for a future of family’s dinners xxxxx." (sic)

Meanwhile, fellow members of the Strictly cast including Gorka Marquez, Angela Scanlon and Nancy Xu all took to the comment to share love heart emojis of their own.

Croft's exit - which led to outraged Strictly fans claiming she was "robbed" - has left just three celebs preparing to take on the finale.

Brazier, Ellie Leach and Layton Williams will all perform for the final time on Saturday's show in the hopes of lifting the Glitterball Trophy

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