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AJ Pritchard details panic attack after ex Abbie Quinnen's accident

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 26/03/2023 Niomi Harris For Mailonline

AJ Pritchard has opened up about the major panic attack he suffered in the wake of ex-girlfriend Abbie Quinnen's horror accident in 2021. 

Abbie, 25, needed three skin grafts after a video she was filming with AJ went horribly wrong and saw a wine bottle explode and set fire to her hair and clothing in January 2021 - leaving her with second and third degree burns.

And while AJ remained by her side throughout her ordeal and acted as her carer, his own mental health suffered, resulting in him having 'the worst panic attack' months later.  

Detailing his ordeal to The Mirror, he said: 'I couldn’t see, couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe', with the former Strictly dancer rushed to hospital as it wasn't clear what was wrong with him.

He added: 'Even they [medics] thought I had some crazy disease, they were going to do a lumbar puncture. I was delirious. There was nothing coming out of me. I just sat rocking in the corner in the dark.'

Shock: Abbie, 25, needed three skin grafts after a video she was filming with AJ went horribly wrong and saw a wine bottle explode and set fire to her hair and clothing in January - leaving her with second and third degree burns © Provided by Daily Mail Shock: Abbie, 25, needed three skin grafts after a video she was filming with AJ went horribly wrong and saw a wine bottle explode and set fire to her hair and clothing in January - leaving her with second and third degree burns

In the wake of the January 2021 incident, Abbie was placed in intensive care, with the severity of her burns requiring her to need three skin grafts.

Due to lockdown restrictions at the time, nobody was allowed to visit, with AJ becoming Abbie's full time carer - with the dancer changing her bandages and helping her to moisturise every day.

But as Abbie - whom he split from in October - slowly recovered, month later AJ reached a pivotal moment in his life in which he now says is his 'lowest point'.

He said: 'Once I’d calmed down, which took days, I realised I needed to talk to somebody. I needed to get this off my chest and try to deal with it.'

During the interview, the Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins winner detailed that there was 'red flags' leading up to his panic attack, but he didn't see them - with the star listing a change in routine and regular headaches as indicators. 

He told how he wished he'd reached out for help sooner as it could have avoided him reaching the 'crisis point', adding that he kept on 'insisting' to everyone he was fine but deep down he wasn't. 

AJ shared: 'It took me being taken to hospital and going through multiple panic attacks before I could admit I needed to talk to somebody. In reality, I should have opened up earlier – that’s the stubborn kind of person that I am. Now, I’m making sure that I can talk openly about it to help others, because there were so many signs before it got to that degree.'

Reflecting on things, AJ says that exercise has been 'pivotal' in keeping him 'mentally healthy', with the dancer even training for the upcoming London Landmarks Half Marathon, of which he'll run in aid of Mind charity. 

Struggle: While AJ remained by her side throughout her ordeal and acted as her carer, his own mental health suffered, resulting in him having 'the worst panic attack' months later

Struggle: While AJ remained by her side throughout her ordeal and acted as her carer, his own mental health suffered, resulting in him having 'the worst panic attack' months later
© Provided by Daily Mail

He added that having support and opening up to someone was the 'biggest thing' in his recovery, adding it 'it turned my life around' at a point when things could have become much worse. 

Elsewhere, last month, AJ accused former Love Island star Arabella Chi of ruining his opportunity to win £50,000 after they competed together on a recent game show. 

The professional dancer teamed up with Arabella in forthcoming endurance based TV series The Challenge UK, where participants undertake a series of gruelling physical tests in a bid to win a cash prize. 

The show also saw AJ's younger brother Curtis, who featured on Love Island alongside Arabella, team up with Kaz Crossley - who participated despite nursing a foot injury. 

And AJ, 28, claims the fitness and swimwear model, 31, employed underhand tactics in a bid to win the cash for herself before ultimately costing them both a place in the top three by flunking their final challenge. 

Speaking to The Sun, he fumed: 'We did not make the final three. If myself and Arabella made the final three, I'd have put my life on it that I would've won that show. 

Not happy: AJ accused former star Arabella Chi of ruining his opportunity to win £50,000 after competing together on a recent game show © Provided by Daily Mail Not happy: AJ accused former star Arabella Chi of ruining his opportunity to win £50,000 after competing together on a recent game show Partner: The professional dancer teamed up with Arabella (pictured) in forthcoming endurance based TV series The Challenge UK © Provided by Daily Mail Partner: The professional dancer teamed up with Arabella (pictured) in forthcoming endurance based TV series The Challenge UK

'But it seems as though it was Arabella that got Curtis knocked out and it was Arabella again that got me knocked out the final and lost me £50,000. I'm just going to throw it out there. 

'That's a touchy subject and it's going to be touchy and a bit raw for the rest of my life!' 

AJ also claims the former Love Island star 'played dirty' when they faced one another in an elimination round and 'repeatedly kicked' Kaz despite knowing she was hampered by a pre-existing injury. 

To make matters worse, he says she cost them the opportunity to progress further by struggling to complete a later mental challenge.  

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