Strictly's Craig Revel Horwood defends sugar daddy arrangement when he was 16

Craig Revel Horwood has said he didn’t feel ‘exploited’ having a ‘sugar daddy relationship’ with an older colleague when he was a teenager.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge, 58, was born in the town of Ballarat in Australia and began dancing as a young child to get out of the house and away from his alcoholic father.

Just 15 when he left home, Craig moved to Melbourne and first had a period working as an apprentice chef before getting a job at a TV station as a trainee cameraman.

However, he’s now spoken more about how during that time he had a ‘sugar daddy’ arrangement with someone he worked with.

In the ‘business arrangement’, the man, who was in his 40s, took Craig on a six-week trip to see shows in New York and London and paid for his dance classes.

In return, the pair had a sexual relationship.

Despite discussions around power imbalances in relationships in recent years, Craig has said he doesn’t see any issue with what happened.

‘No, I didn’t feel it was wrong,’ he said.

‘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 added he didn’t feel it was exploitative at all.

‘I got something from it, and he got something from it, and then we went our separate ways,’ he said when speaking to The Guardian.  

‘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.’

In his 2008 memoir, All Balls and Glitters, Craig discussed his relationship with the man, who he referred to as Mr X.

In the book, Craig said he ‘knew I didn’t love or even find him attractive, but he got what he wanted and I got away from Ballarat’.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One and iPlayer on Saturday, September 16.

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