Dancing with the Stars an 'amazing journey' for radio host Simon Barnett
Simon Barnett will not be able to claim he cannot dance any more after winning the latest season of Dancing with the Stars, his wife says.
The Christchurch-based radio host and his dance partner, Vanessa Cole, were named the winners of the reality television show during Sunday night's live finale.
Jodi Barnett encouraged her husband to sign up for the competition so he could learn how to dance.
"He was so nervous. He was genuinely out of his comfort zone," she said.
The couple flew home to Christchurch from Auckland on Monday night with youngest daughters Isabella, 16, and Lily, 15.
Speaking at Christchurch Airport, Barnett said she was looking forward to being able to dance with her husband, but worried his skills might have surpassed her own.
"He can never say again he can't dance," she said.
Simon Barnett said the last 12 weeks had been an "amazing journey" and an "incredible rollercoaster of emotion".
He almost gave up after his first live performance, which judge Stefano Olivieri described as "camp", but knuckled down and spent up to 50 hours a week training and rehearsing with Cole.
"Vanessa had faith even after week one. Vanessa said to me we can do this ... and I totally didn't believe her, but here we are mirrorball [trophy] in hand."
Barnett and Cole went on to earn a perfect score for their paso doble, danced to Eye of the Tiger.
Cole was supported during the competition by her family, including celebrity dancer brother Brendan Cole, who appeared on the show during previous seasons.
"I didn't expect to [win], but believed we could," she said.
Barnett attributed their win to Cole's efforts, saying their success was "90 per cent Vanessa and 10 per cent me".
"Vanessa has been amazing - all along the way she's been a truly amazing chorographer. She never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself.
"For my money, she's probably the best dancer in the country."
He and wife were now thinking of going to Cole for more dancing lessons.
"It's going to be cool that he will dance with me now," Jodi Barnett said.
Teenagers Lily and Isabella said they were "so proud" of their dad for overcoming his nerves.
"We're proud he gave it a go ... even though he was so nervous. He led by example," Isabella said.