When Craig Revel Horwood left home to find fame as a dancer, he took a slightly unpredictable route to the barre.
Rather than work to fund his dance lessons, the Strictly Come Dancing judge instead was supported in his quest to become a dance expert by an older man.
Revel Horwood first wrote about ‘Mr X’ in his biography All Balls And Glitter back in 2011 and he explained to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, just why the offer suited him.
“I had an offer actually because, not that I needed money, I needed dance classes,” he explained.
“I didn't know how to progress any further and I had an offer from an older guy called Mr. X, who was double my age, but offered me a trip around the world to see amazing shows and do all of that.
“He said if I went away with him, he would pay for my dance classes when I got back to Melbourne - and that's exactly what happened. That was the last time I saw him.”
While the identity of Mr X has never been revealed, it is known that he was a TV personality from Australia and when the British tabloids got hold of the relationship, it hit the headlines.
“I was called a rent boy, called all of these things,” the Australian star revealed.
He continued: “I was not standing on street corners or along a wall, you know, with my thumb out and the price tag about my neck. It wasn't that at all.
“It was literally a sugar daddy who said: 'I'll take you to all these wonderful places in the world, and then you will fly as a dancer and I will pay for your tuition in Melbourne'.”
The pair did sleep together while touring the world, but Revel Horwood insisted there was nothing sordid about their relationship
“It was exactly as per contract and I didn't have to do anything untoward either,” he told podcast host Thornton.
“It was quite an easy thing, plus he was a really nice guy and a friend. I went away and had a fantastic and enlightening time.
“It's not dissimilar, I say to a girl getting an engagement ring from a fella and then dumping him and keeping the ring so she could flog the diamonds on and then pay for dance classes that way.”
In fact, the Strictly star credits the mystery man with helping him escape his abusive home and his threatening alcoholic father.
“I left home when I was 15 and a half,” he revealed.
“I felt grown up. I had a job. I wanted to leave the family home. My father was an alcoholic and family life was just horrendous, because he was really abusive - mentally abusive, physically abusive - and just drunk all the time.
“Dance was getting me away from that and out of the house and that's why I loved it so much because it was a form of escape.”
Thankfully, Revel Horwood was also given support in the form of his ballet teachers who instilled a sense of maturity in him, enabling him to become so independent at a young age – something he says is very important if you’re ever going to wear tights!
“Just putting a pair of tights on and a dance support belt is for the first time, not an easy thing to do,” he laughed.
“You've got to be brave to have that thing rammed up your backside and then put a pair of tights on that and walk into a room!”
Revel Horwood revealed in last week’s episode of White Wine Question Time that Strictly Come Dancing will be back on our screens shortly, with the trained professionals already living and rehearsing together in their own bubble.
Hear Craig Revel Horwood talk about meeting the love of his life, why he ditched working with Camera Mackintosh and his plans for the future on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.