Strictly Come Dancing's Nicola Adams Candidly Reflects On Violent Childhood Abuse

"I was always getting into trouble with my dad," the Olympic boxer recalled. "Sometimes, I felt I was getting hit for no reason."

Strictly Come Dancing star Nicola Adams has spoken candidly about the abuse she endured from her father as a child.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Nicola reflected on the emotional and physical abuse both she and her mother suffered, admitting at one point she even wanted to kill him to get him to stop.

Before my mum left my dad, my childhood was very up and down. I didn’t like the way my dad used to treat us,” the gold medallist said.

“He was very controlling with my mum and me. My mum wasn’t allowed to go anywhere by herself. She wasn’t allowed any friends. She wasn’t really allowed a life at all.”

Nicola Adams
Nicola Adams

Nicola continued: “He’d get violent with both of us. Because I have ADHD, when I was younger I was very hyperactive, so it was very, very hard for me to keep still, especially when he was watching TV.

“So, I was always getting into trouble with my dad. Sometimes, I felt I was getting hit for no reason. It got to the point when I was around nine that I told my mum that I thought we needed to leave.”

She added: “I was watching a TV show about a family that was going through the same sort of situation we were. They ended up killing the father and burying him in the garden.

“I remember saying to my mum, ‘It’s going to be OK, I’ve seen a way we can get rid of Dad on TV, I just don’t know where we’re going to put the body because our garden is concrete’. That was a pretty big wake-up call for my mum.”

Nicola with her gold medal after the 2016 Rio Olympics
Nicola with her gold medal after the 2016 Rio Olympics
Jan Kruger via Getty Images

Nicola went on to say that getting into boxing was what gave her confidence, stating: “It gave me a lot more confidence knowing I could defend myself and look after my mum and brother.

“When my mum and dad were together, there were plenty of times when I wasn’t able to help my mum because I was only a kid, so not very big.

“As much as I shouted and tried, I was pushed to the side, so there was nothing really I could do. I wanted to be able to give my family a better life and I saw boxing as the way out. I saw how hard my mum worked and wanted to make her happy.”

Nicola is one of 12 celebrities currently gearing up for the new series of Strictly, and will make history as part of the show’s first ever same-sex pairing.


Speaking ahead of her dance floor debut, Nicola was asked why she had requested a female partner, explaining: “Just for diversity I guess. And I wanted to do something different and I didn’t see what the big deal would be with pairing with another female.

“You go to nightclubs and girls dance with girls all the time, professional dancers dance with girls all the time, so I don’t think it’s a big deal.”

The new series of Strictly launches on Saturday 17 September, with the first live show airing the following weekend.

If you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. If you are not in immediate danger, you can contact:

  • The Freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge: 0808 2000 247
  • In Scotland, contact Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234
  • In Northern Ireland, contact the 24 hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline: 0808 802 1414
  • In Wales, contact the 24 hour Life Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.
  • National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428
  • Men’s Advice Line: 0808 801 0327
  • Respect helpline (for anyone worried about their own behaviour): 0808 802 0321

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