JJ Chalmers opens up on wife convincing him to compete on Strictly 2020: ‘She dragged me into it’
TENSE MOMENT: JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden waiting for the verdict of the judges to take them through to next round of Strictly come NEXT Saturday.
Pictures by Bill Heaney
By Democrat reporter
JJ CHALMERS – the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 star and former Royal Marine – has opened up about his wife Kornelia Chitursko, who convinced him to compete on the BBC competition, admitting “she dragged me through it all”.
JJ Chalmers, 33, real name John-James, is partnered up with professional dancer Amy Dowden, 30, on Strictly Come Dancing 2020 this year.
In a new interview, the Lance-Corporal who suffered from a bomb blast and was criticalkly injured in Afghanistan at the age of 23, has said his wife Kornelia Chitursko “convinced” him to join the BBC dancing competition.
JJ suffered from severe injuries and was in a coma for a time after he sustained a broken neck and lost two fingers.
After his elbow was mangled and his arms were almost ripped off, the presenter has had 30 operations over four years.
The Strictly 2020 star has now spoken out about how his other half has been there for him throughout and was the one who convinced him to give the dance show a go.
He divulged: “I could not have done it without her, no question. “She dragged me through it all, the surgeries, the rehabilitation.”
Kornelia was a huge part of his recovery as she nursed him back to health, supported by the prayers of the people of Renton, Dumbarton and Vale of Leven. “She was just… there. And I needed her there.”
And the catalyst for the prayers? His father, The Very Rev JJ Chalmers, is a minister of the Church of Scotland.
In a joint interview with the Daily Mirror, Kornelia recalled what it was like for her at the time: “It was one of the things life throws at you.
“I had no idea how to deal with it, but I just knew I had to.”
JJ and Kornelia share their four-year-old daughter Hayley and one-year-old son James together – and they are missing him badly since he is, because of Covid-19, living and working in London every day.
JJ and Kornelia have been happily married for five years and walked down the aisle together back in 2015.
The Invictus Games presenter, who is a personal friend of Prince Harry and Meghan previously told The Scotsman how he is only alive today because of Kornelia.
He continued: “I was with her through Afghanistan, and it was a challenging thing for her to put up with.
“She dragged me through hospital, through recovery, did things for me that no one would ever want to ask a loved one to do for them but she did it and she kept my morale going, and she was the one who said go out there and chase your dreams.
“She put her life on hold essentially so that I could have the opportunities I have and when I get out on the dance floor come Saturday I’m doing it for both of us. That’s how it is.”
JJ recently addressed the difficulties he has faced when apart from his family as he remains on the show, where the viewers gave the couple 24 points this week, which secures their place on the dance flkoor again next weekend.
The celebrity contestants and professional dancers are having to stay in “bubbles” for the duration of the competition.
The Chalmers family with JJ in uniform (back row) and his parents in front with the rest of their family at dad John’s elevation to Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
He told The Sun: “Any time away from my family is difficult, but it’s far harder for my wife, with the kids.
“We live in a world of Face-time and videos, and I’m used to being away from them because of work. Hopefully, this tour lasts three months, and doesn’t get cut short.”
JJ and Amy performed a gorgeous Paso Doble last week and made it through to the next stage of the competition.
This week, both wearing poppies to mark Remembrance Sunday and remember they did a fantastic foxtrot to recall all those who died in Afghanistan and all the other wars and conflicts the world has faced.