FEMAIL takes a look back at the life of Strictly star, Nicola Adams

From the golden girl of London 2012 to making Strictly history: How Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams became one of the UK’s first female boxers at 13 – but faces abuse from trolls for her interracial lesbian relationship

  • Nicola Adams, 37, will make history as part of first same-sex pairing on Strictly
  • Double Olympian, who is bisexual, retired from boxing in 2019 due to eye injury
  • Met partner Ella Baig two years ago and has spoken about abuse they’ve suffered

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will make history as part of the first same-sex pairing on Strictly Come Dancing. 

The double Olympian, 37, who approached Strictly with the idea for an all-female partnership, saying she would only sign up if she could dance with a woman, said in a statement: ‘It’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change.’ 

Adams, who grew up in Leeds and won gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, retired from the sport in 2019 following an eye injury, and now lives with beauty blogger girlfriend Ella Baig, who she met two years ago.

But what else is known about the Strictly star? FEMAIL dives a little deeper into the life of the Olympic boxer…. 

Boxing star Nicola Adams from Leeds, who retired in November, and girlfriend Ella Baig have been dating since 2018 and have been sharing images from their lives in lockdown on Instagram

Nicola Adams, 37, with her gold medal won in the boxing 51kg category at Team GB house in London on August 09, 2012 

Growing up, Adams suffered from asthma and was advised by a doctor not to run around it case it worsened her condition.

‘Try and tell a five-year-old kid they can’t run up and down. It’s pretty much impossible,’ she said, speaking to The Guardian in 2017.

However, aged 12, her mum Dee took her to an aerobics class, where a boxing class was taking place at the same time – and that was the start of her love for the sport.

One year later in 1995, aged 13, Adams participated in her first fight – despite women’s boxing not being an official sport – and the following year the Amateur Boxing Association of England lifted a ban on women and girls being allowed to compete. 

Nicola Adams, aged 15. She started boxing at 13 even though it wasn’t an official sport, and a year later rules were changed to allow women and girls to fight, leading her to enter multiple competitions across Europe 

Ella Baig and Nicola Adams attend ‘The Lion King’ European Premiere at Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London

Former Olympic boxer Nicola Adams OBE and her girlfriend Ella Baig have revealed they face abuse from trolls for being in a lesbian, interracial relationship

After winning her second fight at the age of 17, she then started entering competitions all over Europe, and first represented England in 2001. 

In 2003, Adams was named English amateur champion, but five years later, she was out of the sport for four months after breaking her back.

Returning stronger than ever for the London 2012 games, Adams beat Ren Cancan in the flyweight final to win the first Olympic women’s boxing gold medal.

Four years later, she defended her title in Rio, but retired in  2019 to protect her eyesight bowing to medical advice to hang up the gloves. 

Adams, who was awarded an MBE followed by the OBE, announced her retirement in the Yorkshire Evening Post in November, saying: ‘I’m immensely honoured to have represented our country – to win double Olympic gold medals and then the WBO championship belt is a dream come true,’ she wrote.

Since then, Adams, who met girlfriend Ella Baig, 21, two years ago, has been vocal about the abuse they’ve suffered for dating each other, including comments about them being a bi-racial couple.

In June this year, the former GB gold-medal winning boxer, who was previously engaged to American boxer Marlen Esparaza until 2018, hit back at trolls who comment on her appearance and her relationship with a TikTok video. 

Nicola posted the video, which also stars her beauty blogger girlfriend to her 149,000 fans on Instagram. 

In the clip, the pair appear alongside some of the comments they say they’ve faced on a daily basis, with hurtful slights at Adams including ‘you’re too manly’, ‘you’re too black’ and you ‘can’t have sex’.  

Nicola Adams has previously shared a TikTok video to her Instagram page showing some of the comments she and girlfriend Ella Baig have had to endure


Adam’s girlfriend, Ella Baig, 21, revealed some of slurs that have come her way via social media. The beauty blogger said she’d been told she was a ‘fake’ and an ‘attention seeker’

The couple say they’ve been asked intrusive questions about dating each other and faced prejudice ‘just for being ourselves’ 

Adams wrote: ‘There’s so much negativity in the world and it’s so sad to think how little it’s changed over the years. 

‘It’s so wrong that people discriminate against us for just being women, the colour of our skin or who we love.’

The former golden girl of British boxing added that the couple wanted to ‘make a video that shows some of the prejudice and hate we face on a daily basis for being ourselves but also that through it all we will never stop fighting for what we believe in or stop being who we are and neither should you.’ 

The pair appeared on Gogglebox on Friday 5th June, alongside a host of celebrity names including Radio 2 Breakfast host Zoe Ball and her son Woody Cook and Nick Grimshaw and his niece Liv. 

Adams has previously told how she was nervous about telling her family about her sexuality when she was back in school. 

‘It was quite a scary thought for me at the time,’ she said, speaking to GQ in 2016. ‘I knew one other person in my school who was the same and we talked. We hadn’t come out…’

She added: ‘Mum was in the kitchen washing up and I was like, ‘I’ve got something to tell you’,’ she recalled.

‘I was so nervous, I was really sweating, and she says, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I was just like, ‘I’m bisexual’. And she was like, ‘OK, put the kettle on’.’

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