'She's been there when I've been breaking down' - Johnny Ward praises dance partner Emily for support in wake of father's death
It was the sweet taste of victory for Johnny Ward on Sunday night when Brian Redmond finally gave him 10 points on Dancing With The Stars.
The Love/Hate actor said he "honestly" thought he would never see the tough-talking judge lift his number 10 paddle after he was quoted in an interview saying he wouldn't give Johnny top marks until he "stopped acting".
"Brian had said in interviews three weeks ago that he's never going to give me a 10 unless I stop acting, and I could see what he means," Johnny told the Herald.
"Emily Barker, my dance partner, gives me a character to play, which as an actor is easy enough.
"You take on that role, but then with everything that has happened in the last week-and-a-half, with the passing of my father, sometimes you just don't need to be told anything.
"Emily was like, 'Just do as you feel, there's so much that you can't say when your father passes'."
The former Fair City actor said he doesn't think his father's death has registered with him yet.
"It obviously still hasn't hit me and I'm distracted with this because this is what he asked me to do," he said.
"I suppose you feel guilty, like what if I'd done this or what if I'd done that, was I there enough for him?
"Should I have left the competition ages ago when he started getting sick again?
"You just want to put that all into one emotion."
Johnny said all the tricks in the routine had left his back swollen, but he pulled out all the stops in memory of his late father.
"You have to with a dance like that, as emotional as it was - my back is completely swollen just from doing all that. I did it for him," he said.
"We put some judo into the routine as well and we could get away with it because it was contemporary ballroom."
Johnny said Emily had seen how upset he had been during the week.
"She's been there when I've been breaking down with everything that's gone on," he said.
"For her to see that, use it as a tool or a paint brush and put it into something like that, it was amazing."