Strictly’s John Whaite shares surprise marriage announcement: ‘Mr & Mr’

Paul Atkins and John Whaite in a selfie.

Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite has a husband after marrying his long-term partner, graphic designer Paul Atkins, almost seven years after the pair first announced their engagement.

John Whaite, who rose to fame after winning the third season of The Great British Bake Off in 2012, shared the news on his Instagram page yesterday (1 February), alongside an adorable selection of black and white photos from their big day.

The sweet images show Whaite dressed in a kilt and walking through the streets of New York City with his arm around Paul, who is wearing a leather jacket, jeans and beanie.

In one photo, the pair are embracing lovingly and go in for a kiss.

“Our big day in the Big Apple. Mr & Mr,” Whaite wrote in the post’s caption, alongside a quote from a speech given by Justice Anthony Kennedy during the 2015 supreme court decision to legalise same-sex marriage.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,” the quote begins.

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In his Instagram Story, Whaite joked that “after 16 years together” they had “decided to take advantage of the spouse ISA allowance”.

Then, in a comment on the photo carousel, he shared that it was a “simple and perfect day”.

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In 2021, Whaite finished runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing after forming part of the competition’s first ever male same-sex pairing, with professional dancer Johannes Radebe.

In his first memoir Dancing on Egg Shells, released last year, the 34-year-old admitted that he and Atkins had “spent some time apart” after he started “falling in love” with Radebe.

Obviously, Whaite and Atkins put the blip behind them and decided to start the new year in the most beautiful way possible: by tying the knot.

After sharing the surprise news on social media, the couple were inundated with lovely messages from famous friends and adoring fans.

RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage commented “Congratulations to you both,” while Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies added: “Ahh congratulations.”

Drag Race UK winner Danny Beard and judge Alan Carr also shared their warm wishes, as did Johannes Radebe.

Trans activist Charlie Craggs wrote that she was “gonna cry” over the news, as Steph’s Packed Lunch host Steph McGovern called the announcement “amazing”.

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