Former England footballer Tony Adams says he took up the serious dance challenge after suffering a “mental breakdown” and nearly dying of a heart attack six years ago.
The 55-year-old has captained Arsenal and England during his professional career, winning 66 caps and appearing in four major tournaments.
As a result of his experiences with alcohol and drug addiction, he later founded Sporting Chance, a charity to help sportspeople with mental health and addiction issues.
Before the series premiered on Friday, Adams recalled how being close to death prompted him to join the “silly” BBC One programme.
“I was asked a few times,” he said. I had a mental breakdown when I was 49 years old and worked too hard in China and now I have time.
“I don’t work too much, my calendar is pretty empty for the next three months so I just thought yes, let’s do it.
“After heart surgery – I almost died at 49 – my main artery was 99% closed and life pressured.
“I’m a natural worrier, my mom is more of a worrier so I decided to make things a little easier and put myself on a silly show.”
Adams said the show’s medical staff gave him “a thorough examination” and described the production process as “another level”.
He added: “My physical condition is pretty bad as I also have a new metal knee, she didn’t ‘slip the knee’.
“It was ‘can’t do this, can’t do that’ – she kept saying ‘you’re not very good, are you?’. I said ‘I’m 55 years old now’. “
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Adams was sentenced to four months in prison in 1990 for drunk driving and says the experience would help him deal with any critical feedback about his dancing.
He joked: “I’m going to pass you all because when I got out of jail they threw bottles at me and I threw carrots at me, so I passed it.”
Seriously Coming to Dancing will premiere on Friday 23 September at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/tony-adams-says-suffering-mental-breakdown-six-years-ago-led-to-strictly-stint-42011249.html Tony Adams says suffering ‘mental breakdown’ six years ago led to serious condition