Who would have thought Jamie Redknapp would turn out to be a Strictly Come Dancing super fan? Certainly not his wife Louise Redknapp, who has been completely taken aback seeing him in the front row of the audience week after week.
Or perhaps it’s just his love for Louise that inspires him to spend his Saturdays at the Strictly studio. In fact, the whole experience has taken her back to their courting days 20 years ago, when she was a pop star and he was her adoring fan.
Speaking about her football pundit husband at a Strictly press conference in London, finalist Louise explained: “I’m going to be so honest. When I first started doing this show, I thought, Jamie – it’s going to be so not up his street.”
But, she added, “I can’t get rid of him. He comes every Saturday, he’s in the front row, he’s in the training room.
“And I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting it would be me going off to work, doing my thing. He was very happy for me to do it; he said, ‘Do you know, I think it’s going to be great for you and I think it’s about time you got back out there and showed everyone who you are and what you are.’
“I wasn’t expecting for him to be there every Saturday in that front row,” she added. “And that has made this even more special for me, because it’s something really nice to see someone you love extremely proud of you – and it takes me back to how we were 20 years ago when we first met and I was on stage.
“So yeah, all good things come out of Strictly, huh?”
Louise, who was a member of the R&B girl group Eternal, took a step back from pop stardom to start a family with Jamie. Together they have two sons, 12-year-old Charley and eight-year-old Beau.
But Strictly has been Louise’s chance to find her feet again – and she has loved it.
“I did it for real personal reasons, I really wanted to get out and just do something for me,” she explained.
“Anyone that’s got kids knows that your life becomes very wrapped up in them, and you end up doing nothing that you love doing. So Strictly for me was always about week by week making the most of it, enjoying it, learning a new dance every week and just really getting out there and remembering I love performing.”
Louise made a slow start on Strictly, but came into her own with the Argentine Tango. The judges have praised her increasing confidence as pro partner Kevin Clifton coaxes her out of her shell.
“I think it was just the transformation from being at home to all of a sudden being on a show where 11, 12 million people were watching every Saturday,” Louise explained. “That’s kind of a big jump.”
It’s a jump she was so nervous about that she almost backed out at the last minute.
Kevin revealed: “Right at the beginning of the series she came in and said to me, ‘I nearly didn’t do it in the end. I’ve always wanted to do it but I was really scared of doing it.’ And she said, ‘I’ll give you my best but I’m probably not going to be confident enough to do any of that jazz hands and thigh slapping stuff.’
“And I said: ‘Unfortunately Louise you’re partnered with me.’ Fast forward to musicals week…”
The Strictly Come Dancing final airs tonight at 6.40pm on BBC1