STRICTLY hunk Max George isn’t worried about falling foul of the show’s infamous curse – because he has his girlfriend watching him night and day.
The former singer with boyband The Wanted, 32, has had a surveillance camera installed in the dance studio he rehearses in with stunning Dianne Buswell, 31, to put girlfriend Stacey Giggs, 38, at ease.
In an exclusive chat with The Sun, Max reveals he’s in constant contact with her and the children she had with ex-husband Ryan, 46, having not seen them for two months due to Covid-19.
He said: “It’s like a little TV screen, I’ve got a portal and it’s HD and it follows you around the room so wherever I walk it follows me.
“I turn that on so it’s like I’m there. Eyes on me.
“I’ve got security cameras. So it’s like a dog cam, so whenever me dog wakes up in the middle of the night I get little videos so I can see what he’s up to.
“We’ve got it all covered.
“Obviously it’s hard of course and we miss each other loads but it’s just going to make the reunion even nicer, the longer it goes on.”
With pros and celebrities spending days dancing cheek to cheek, the show’s now a hothouse of sexual tension which can make or break a relationship – and more than a dozen couples falling victim to the “Curse of Strictly.”
The show’s reputation has even seen some stars refuse producers’ offers to join the line-up.
And Stacey has previous experience of cheating. Her former footballer ex played away multiple times with his brother Rhodri’s wife, Natasha Lever, and Big Brother star Imogen Thomas.
They eventually splitting in 2016 amid claims Ryan had cheated on her again with a PR executive.
The Manchester United legend and Wales manager was arrested on November 1 on suspicion of actual bodily harm and assault of his then girlfriend. He denied all the allegations.
But Max says there was no curse anxiety before signing up and insists he had never heard of it.
'REALLY GOOD FRIEND'
Asked if he and Stacey spoke about the curse, he said: “I didn’t even know what it was to be honest. It’s never been a concern.
“It’s just like shooting a music video or shooting a TV show. As much as it’s fun and obviously I’ve made a really good friend in Dianne, it’s work at the end of the day and a challenge. It’s nothing else than that. So, no, it’s never been a conversation.”
Covid restrictions mean he has formed a bubble with his dance partner Dianne and is allowed to see his family, socially distanced but have decided not to as it would make time away tougher.
It may have put him in good stead after it emerged on Thursday evening same-sex duo, Katya Jones and former boxer Nicola Adams would have to quit the show after Katya tested positive for coronavirus.
But as Max was shooting a movie before joining the BBC show it meant he was away from Stacey and her children Libby, 17, and Zachery, 14, for longer than expected.
Max said: “It has been really tough because as much as I’m away and working and practicing everyday with it being lockdown at home there’s not a lot to do. So without me there I guess it gets lonely.
“They’ve been nothing but supportive.
“Technically, I can see them, socially distanced, outside, but we’ve chosen not to do that. That’d be ten times as hard.
'EASY ON THE EYE'
“Stace has said, as much as she’s missing me and the kids are and I miss them, she wants me to go as far as I can cause she knows how difficult I find this. She knows I’m not naturally a dancer. I think that’s pretty clear. But I have got a very good teacher.”
Last week that teacher helped Max earn his highest score of the series so far, 24, after dancing to The Simpsons theme tune.
Max and Dianne – Homer and Marge – were joint third on the leaderboard and showered with praise from the show’s Mr Nasty, Craig Revel Horwood, 55.
He will be disappointed reading Max’s comments on the curse as he told him he was “easy on the eye” after the first dance.
On Saturday night Max and Dianne will perform the American smooth to It Had To Be You by Harry Connick Jr and he’ll be swapping Homer’s beer belly for a dashing suit.
He said: “He’s supposed to be the scary one but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we’ve still got Saturday. So far, so good.
“I want to improve and it is very new to me but the comments have been really good. They seem to think I have got something in me, it’s just bringing me out so that’s what Dianne’s been working tirelessly to do.”
Asked if he may have Craig wrapped round his finger, Max said: “I wouldn’t go that far. I am wearing a suit though this week, so hopefully he’ll like that. I’m gonna start asking Craig to choose my wardrobe just so he’s pleased.”
Despite his high scores this early on in the competition, Max insists he’s winging it in the live shows.
He said: “To be honest I never know what’s going to happen on a Saturday. I normally improvise stuff which I shouldn’t do, whether that’s good or bad I just don’t know.”
He’s also been in the wars, sporting a support after injuring his wrist and having some sore feet.
Max said: “A few aches and stuff and a few sore toes from getting stood on and standing on myself and I’ve got a wrist injury. It’s not something that’s gonna stop me from doing it just prevents me from doing a lot of lifts which is frustrating but there’s nothing I can do about it.”
He is modest on his chances of winning the competition, to the point of self-deprecation.
When I ask if he can do it, he responds: “I’ve had no thoughts of me, at all. Honestly. It’s week by week. The last thing I say to Dianne on a Saturday before I go on, every week, is, ‘Is it gonna be all right?’.
“Every week has been a peak for me. If I’ve done it and I’ve got through it, I’m happy, then that’s it. I have no expectation with it.”
Max says his boyband days in The Wanted from 2010 to 2014 haven’t helped, joking: “Singing and boozing, I’m not sure how much that prepares you for ballroom dancing to be honest.”
But he couldn’t have asked for a better friend to give him some words of wisdom in his bandmate Jay McGuinness, 30, who won the competition in 2015, a year after they decided to break up.
Max said: “I speak to Jay a lot and he just says, ‘Enjoy it. Just go for it. Just don’t worry about’. See that’s the thing with it, I get nervous, really nervous, which isn’t going to change, I don’t think because I’ve been like that all my life.
“But it’s about channelling and that’s what Jay says. He says, ‘Just channel your nerves’.”
The friends and the other Wanted bandmates – Siva Kaneswaran and Nathan Sykes – were rocked by the news in October that Tom Parker, 32, was diagnosed with an inoperable stage four, glioblastoma, a terminal brain tumour, after suffering seizures.
His wife Kelsey was pregnant with their second child when he was told the devastating news.
Max said: “It’s difficult to put into words really. It’s devastating to hear
“I think about Tom all the time. Tom’s always been an inspiration to me anyway, I always look up to Tom as a big brother, he is the leader of the band and even with what he’s going through, it just proves how strong he is mentally and I normally ring him on a Sunday and we have a laugh about what I’ve done the night before.”
With the tenth anniversary of their first single, All Time Low, there couldn’t have been a better time to get the band together.
He said: “I would love us to do something, 100 per cent. And I’m sure, I’m pretty sure, unless I’m way off, that the other boys would feel the same way.
“When that is I don’t know but I’m pretty sure that they still love our music, love the band, we all love each other, so I would like to think so.”
But before any sort of reunion can take place, Tom has been completing rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a bid to shrink the tumour.
There’s also the matter of his newborn baby Bodhi, who Max accidentally revealed had been born when he appeared on Lorraine last week.
Tom jokingly branded Max a “knobhead” after the slip of the tongue.
Max said: “It’s like that was his nickname for me – he calls me a lot worse than that.”
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