Strictly’s Nicola Adams became boxer to ‘protect’ mum after domestic abuse hell

Nicola Adams has opened up on how she got into boxing to become "a protector" for her mum and brother.

The ring queen – now ready to take part in Strictly – said they suffered abuse at the hands of her violent and controlling father.

And she admitted she even thought about killing him when she was just nine.

He eventually split from their mum Dee. But Dee struggled with childcare and took Nicola and her brother Kurtis to the boxing gym.

The double Olympic gold medallist and ex-world champ, 37, admits her interest in the sport came out of a desire to look after her family.

She told Radio Times: "I got into boxing by accident because my mum couldn’t find a babysitter, so I never really saw the connection.

"But if it wasn't for that I would never have gone to the boxing club.

"It gave me the strength to think I could defend myself. I saw myself as a protector for my mum and brother."

Leeds-born Nicola will be part of Strictly’s first same-sex couple on the show, which launches on Saturday.

And she admits she will probably face complaints from a section of BBC viewers.

But she says: "If they don't like it, they’re going to have to deal with it or switch to another channel."

She has also taken acting classes ahead of her challenge in the TV ballroom.

She struggles to show emotion or even cry – and the judges often remind celebrities that they need to act out stories with their dances and make them believable.

Nicola said: "I am more emotional now than I ever was before.

"Whenever I feel something, I really feel it now. I feel more sensitive and it’s good. As an actor, I need to be able to access everything."

For support, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or other services, available here.

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