AJ Pritchard is “nervous” about socialising with pals on the Strictly tour after being attacked by a vicious gang last week.
The Sun revealed the pro dancer has hired bodyguards in the aftermath of the attack, which saw him and his brother Curtis battered by yobs.
But that hasn’t stopped him worrying about a repeat of the incident and sources have claimed AJ, who will be dancing on tour with paralympian Lauren Steadman, could stay home when his colleagues head to the pub after shows.
Insiders told The Mirror: “The security for the tour itself is absolutely top notch. But AJ is now more cautious about going out socialising after the shows. He was never worried about clubs or pubs before.
“He’s always been very easy-going and loved mixing with everyone, but now he is nervous about putting himself in a vulnerable position.”
AJ revealed his brother Curtis bravely dived in front of violent thugs to save his life during the club attack.
The pair, who were set upon by a gang of eight, revealed Curtis, 23, now needs knee surgery in order to save his dancing career.
AJ, 24, said his brother took the brunt of the beating to protect him.
The sibling added: “It could have been fatal.”
Curtis was knocked unconscious as he risked his own dance career to protect him.
AJ was badly bruised but Curtis suffered a suspected broken nose, blurred vision, a split lip and a knee injury which will need surgery so he can dance again.
In an exclusive joint interview with The Sun, AJ said: “Curtis risked his own dancing career to save mine as he threw himself in front of the attackers so they couldn’t get to me. He was thinking of both my dancing career with my legs and my TV career with my face.
“He tried to protect me and in doing so saved my life and my legs from danger.
“I soon realised there were no winners in this scenario. I just wanted us both to come out alive. I care more about Curtis than I do about selfies and looking good.”
The pair had been enjoying a family Christmas at their home in Stoke-on-Trent, where their parents Debi and Adrian run a dancing school.
AJ said: “We’d been lots of times before and the staff there know us, so we felt it was a safe place for us to go.”
But the pair believe the attention AJ was receiving from female Strictly fans sparked the thugs’ jealous rage.
Talking exclusively to The Sun, Strictly’s AJ revealed Curtis risked his life and career to save him from being battered further[/caption]
He said: “We were dancing as a group and, out of the blue, Curtis was violently pushed from the side. It all happened so quickly. Suddenly, we were surrounded by about eight blokes.
“He stuck his arms out to try and stop them and moved in front of me. But we were punched and kicked from all angles. We had no time to defend ourselves, by the time we even put our hands up we were being punched and kicked.
“It was like a scene out of a movie, with all the aggression and violence. Nothing like this had ever happened to us before. I couldn’t even take in the pain from the kicks and punching. I just knew we had to get away.”
Strictly’s AJ and his partner Lauren Steadman came fifth in this year’s Strictly competition[/caption]
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“Seeing my dad crying is the worst. This endless violence in the UK has to stop.”
Cheshire police say a 20-year-old man was arrested and released under investigation.
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