Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood ‘determined to be better husband’ in second marriage | #tinder | #pof

With his waspish wit and brutal honesty Craig Revel Horwood never hesitates to tell others how badly they’ve tripped up, but the Strictly Come Dancing judge is just as harsh on himself.

And as he dreams of picking up a perfect 10 in his upcoming second marriage to fiance Jonathan, the 49-year-old is determined to be a much better husband than he was at his first attempt.

In March, Craig got engaged to his boyfriend of two years Jonathan Myring, 35, who he met on dating app Tinder.

The romance came as a surprise to the Australian, who had vowed to stay single after his marriage to wife Jane 30 years ago collapsed acrimoniously after just two-and-a-half years.

But Craig, who has been openly gay since his previous nuptials broke down, says his relationship with Jonathan, a horticulturist, is already on a much surer footing, partly because of how lockdown forced them to learn to live together 24/7. And he insists he has learned the lessons of his disastrous first marriage and believes that this time the love will last forever.

Craig, who is already planning a typically exuberant wedding for 2022, says: “Things are definitely different this time.

“We got engaged in Australia, and then as soon as we got home the country went into lockdown and we couldn’t leave the house.

“It was either going to go well or go badly, and luckily enough it went fantastically well, we really like each other’s company. A lot of people only move in with each other after they’re married, then you get the shock of your life when you realise you can’t live with that person. It’s possible to love someone intensely yet not be able to live with them. Most of all, we learned to give each other space, which I don’t think happened in the last one.”

He adds: “I’ve had time to think about it, and I would know by now if it was going to work or not. We asked each other a lot of questions and learned so much about each other. He’s been teaching me about plants, soil and stuff I knew nothing about.

“I’ve even learned how to use the ride-on mower, I’m turning into a proper farmer, it’s wonderful! And I’ve been teaching him about all the trials and tribulations of performing. We’ve been equalised in a way.

“I could never really see myself remarrying, but this feels right. It feels like the right time, and I fancy sharing my life, and the rest of my life, with Jonathan. Everything feels perfect.”

But Craig and ex-wife Jane are now close friends, and she even manages the Strictly star’s website.

He says: “It took a while to rebuild the relationship, she remarried and now has a son who’s married and has kids himself, it’s fantastic. Life has moved on and she’s very glad that I’m happy. It makes everyone’s life a bit easier.”

Do he and Jonathan, who live together in Craig’s sprawling Hampshire mansion, have plans for a family of their own? “I wanted children when I was in my 30s, but I’m 55 and a bit long in the tooth. I’d be more like a grandaddy.

“We have talked about it. I’m not averse to the idea. I just think it’d be better if I were younger to be honest.”

Craig’s journey from bullied kid in the outback Australian town of Ballarat to acclaimed West End director and choreographer, and world famous Strictly judge, has been so eventful he has already written three autobiographies.

He has talked candidly about his battles with anorexia and body image issues, working as a rent boy aged 17 to pay for dance lessons and how he lived on the breadline as he struggled to make it in London’s theatre scene.

But his latest book, something else he got down during lockdown, could be the most scintillating yet. Dances and Dreams on Diamond Street is officially a fictitious novel – but only so he could tell some stories he hadn’t been able to write about previously.

He explains: “I’d asked the celebrities involved in the stories if I could write about them in my autobiographies and they refused. So I thought, how can I tell them? I created fictional characters and condensed all the stories into seven months in 1994, when I was living in Camden trying to become a choreographer, just like Danny, the main character.

“So a lot of people are probably going to recognise themselves. There’s a gay-bashing story that involves a real person readers will know. It will be up to the reader to decide who these people are. There are plenty of clues.”

Craig, who has been on Strictly since the very first episode 16 years ago, is keen to get back in his judge’s seat even though the show will be very different this year, with a reduced audience, and a skeleton crew.

Dancers and celebrities will isolate together in a hotel for the 13-week duration of the series. Celebrities taking part this year include comedian Bill Bailey, EastEnders’ Maisie Smith and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Unfortunately, none of Craig’s celebrity wish list are in the line-up.

He says: “I’d love to see Simon Cowell on it, he would have been a fantastic choice. Politicians are very funny, like Ed Balls. Boris Johnson would be the best choice.”

Whoever they are, Craig insists he’ll never tone down his acerbic remarks. He says: “I enjoy telling the truth, and I mark according to merit. Once, early on in the show, a woman came up to me in Newbury and slapped me across the face, saying, ‘I don’t like the way you talk to the celebrities’. But then she said, ‘Oh, but keep on doing what you’re doing because I love it!’”

Dances and Dreams on Diamond Street by Craig Revel Horwood, is published by Michael O’Mara Books, on October 1, £10.99.

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