Anton Du Beke has revealed he spent three days in hospital after he was stabbed in the stomach and the leg by his father on Boxing Day while he was living at the family home in Kent.
The Strictly Come Dancing judge, 57, said the revelations will likely come as a shock to his friends and family as it is the first time he has spoken about the childhood incident.
Born to a Spanish mother and Hungarian father, Du Beke lived on a council estate in Sevenoaks, and discovered his flair for dancing after picking his sister up from the local studio.
Although his mother encouraged his new hobby, his father, Antal, “took a turn” against Du Beke as alcoholism gripped him.
Appearing on Kate Garraway’s Life Stories, Du Beke said: “The alcoholism and the violence…(it was) towards me, 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, I’ve never said this out loud before,” he said struggling to hold back his tears on the ITV show.
Du Beke said he was sure his family and friends did not know about the attack because he never saw any gain from speaking about his ordeal, telling Garraway: “I’m a forward looker…I don’t like to look back, I like to look forward.”
Recalling the incident, he continued: “…I got stabbed in the leg and in the stomach because of a fight on Boxing Day and it was an idiotic situation.
“I remember walking out of the house to walk up to the hospital holding my leg and a police car drove past and I waved them down and I said ‘he’s in there with a knife’.
“Anyway, they carted him off and I ended up in hospital for three or four days.
“My only concern was getting back into the studio and dancing and the embarrassment of it.”
Du Beke said he told people he had “pulled a hamstring” when asked about his leg injury because he was embarrassed.
The professional dancer told host Garraway: “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 and when he died, Du Beke did not attend his funeral.
“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 said.
At the time, the aspiring dancer changed his name “from Tony Beke, who grew up on a council estate” to “Anton Du Beke, The Show Man”.
He said: “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 also said his motivation to achieve success was not because of his father.
He added: “I hate woe is me, I never sought any sense of confirmation or encouragement from him and I never did anything I did because of him.
“My motivation to do what I did was not because of that.”
TV presenter Garraway, who took over from Piers Morgan as the host of Life Stories this year, said she knew Du Beke is “larger than life” but is also a “very private” man after her time dancing with him on Strictly Come Dancing in 2007.
She said: “He has a philosophy about his relationship with his fans that he is there to bring joy into their lives and doesn’t want to share any of his own troubles.
“But with me he does, and it showed a huge leap of trust on his part, because many of the things we talked about he hadn’t even really talked about even with his close family, and I felt so honoured to be able to help him to share it.”
Du Beke was the longest-serving professional dancer on Strictly, having been a fixture on the BBC One series since it began, until he swapped the dance floor for the judging panel to take over from departing judge Bruno Tonioli permanently in 2021.
His celebrity partners over the years have included former home secretary Jacqui Smith, soap star Emma Barton and politician Ann Widdecombe.
Off the dance floor, Du Beke is an author having published novels including We’ll Meet Again, One Enchanted Evening and A Christmas To Remember – and his solo tour, An Audience With Anton Du Beke starts this month.
Actor Omid Djalili and Ruby Wax have also spoken to Garraway for this run of Life Stories.
Kate Garraway’s Life Stories airs on Wednesday at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
Published: by Radio NewsHub