AJ Pritchard opens up on mental health after hospitalisation

aj pritchard
Strictly's AJ Pritchard opens up on mental healthDavid M. Benett - Getty Images

Strictly Come Dancing pro AJ Pritchard has opened up on his mental health struggles following ex-girlfriend Abbie Quinnen's horrific accident in 2021.

In an interview with The Mirror, AJ revealed he suffered from panic attacks after the incident, which led him to be hospitalised on one occasion.

"I couldn't see, couldn't talk, couldn't breathe," he reflected.

"Even they thought I had some crazy disease, they were going to do a lumbar puncture. I was delirious. There was nothing coming out of me. I just sat rocking in the corner in the dark."

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The professional dancer explained that the months following the accident had been some of the toughest for him mentally, adding that he wished he'd reached out for help sooner.

"In reality, I should have opened up earlier – that's the stubborn kind of person that I am," he said.

"Now, I'm making sure that I can talk openly about it to help others, because there were so many signs before it got to that degree.

"I kept insisting that I was fine but I obviously wasn't."

AJ and Abbie had been filming a viral life hack when the stunt went horrifically wrong, leaving Abbie with third degree burns and in need of multiple skin grafts.

aj pritchard and abbie quinnen on the set of itv's lorraine

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Abbie opened up on the accident earlier this month, sharing a glimpse into her recovery journey on Instagram.

"I wasn’t going to do a post to mark the 2 years but I thought I absolutely should as I am so incredibly proud of how far I have come and the girl I have become in accepting my scars," she wrote.

"I really thought my scars were going to be my weakness but I couldn’t have been more wrong they are now my strength!

"They show me every single day a story of how incredibly strong I have been!"

If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, organisations who can offer support include the NHS, Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov.

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