Amanda Abbington has revealed her fiancé, stunt performer Jonathan Goodwin, has been left paralysed and in a wheelchair after a TV stunt went horrifyingly wrong.
Jonathan, who previously appeared on both America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent, was seriously injured after performing an incredibly dangerous stunt for America’s Got Talent: Extreme in October 2021.
Speaking about the incident, Amanda reveled her fiancé ‘nearly died twice’ and was left in critical condition after the suspension stunt at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia went horribly wrong and he plunged 30 feet to the ground.
Jonathan spent weeks in hospital recovering from injuries including burns and broken legs, and Amanda has now revealed he almost lost his life twice in the aftermath of the accident.
Injured: Amanda Abbington has revealed her fiancé, stunt performer Jonathan Goodwin, has been left paralysed and in a wheelchair after a TV stunt went horrifyingly wrong
She told the Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner podcast: ‘He fell 30 feet and lost a kidney, broke both shoulder blades, shattered both legs.
‘Third degree burns, broke his spine and severed his spinal cord and, nearly died. And then on the operating table, he nearly died again.’
The Sherlock actress confirmed it is unlikely Jonathan will walk again.
She added: ‘He’s paralysed now he’s in a wheelchair. Unless there’s a kind of stem cell surgery or that thing that Elon Musk is designing with the little chip, he’ll be like that forever.’
Jonathan was released from hospital in February and Amanda – who has two children with former partner Martin Freeman – praised his courage as he continues the long road to recovery.
Hospital: The stunt went horribly wrong and lead to him being hospitalized for four months
She said: ‘His courage and his strength is something that I just aspire to be like.
‘He’s just incredible, honestly, like so happy, just like a very happy, positive human being, just liquid sunshine. He’s amazing.’
During the doomed stunt, Jonathan was suspended 70ft in the air, sandwiched between two cars and clad in a straightjacket, when the vehicles burst into flames. He missed the air mattress that was supposed to break his fall and hit his head on the ground.
Jonathan later admitted he had ‘dodged the worst’ but had a ‘long road to recovery’ ahead of him.
He wrote on Instagram: ‘To death I say nananana boo boo. ‘I have been to the very brink and dodged the worst that a human being can, without fear… because I was protected by love.
‘Love is all you need, so make sure you get some, cos its good s***. ‘There is a long road to recovery and that won’t look like what it did… I may leave the daft s*** alone for a while, but I have a lot left to do in this world. Maybe we can make something good together?’
Suspended: The accident happened in mid-October, with NBC ‘temporarily’ suspending production on the show
The accident happened in mid-October, with NBC ‘temporarily’ suspending production on the show.
The stunt was filmed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Goodwin was suspended 70 feet in the air.
He was supposed to free himself and fall into an inflatable airbag, before two cars slammed together on each side of him.
Something went wrong and the cars both collided with Goodwin, with the cars both exploding on impact.
Shocking: Jonathan later admitted he had ‘dodged the worst’ but had a ‘long road to recovery’ ahead of him as he remained in hospital after the terrifying incident
Long road to recovery: Jonathan spent four months in hospital with his injuries
Goodwin fell to the ground but missed the airbag and landed on his head. He was airlifted to a local hospital
‘Our thoughts and prayers remain with Jonathan Goodwin and his family as he continues to recover from his accident on Thursday.
‘In order to focus on the wellbeing of our crew, we will be temporarily pausing production on America’s Got Talent: Extreme and will resume the last few days of filming at a later date.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The health and safety of our cast and crew continue to be our priority.’
The accident happened during a rehearsal for the show so it’s unclear if the accident will be addressed at all during the inaugural season of AGT: Extreme.
Stunt: The stunt was filmed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where Goodwin was suspended 70 feet in the air
Amanda previously spoke about her fiancé’s daredevil lifestyle to The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden, gushing: ‘Jonathan sets fire to himself and catches bullets for a living, but is also grown up, sensitive, and considerate. I’m completely besotted.’
The couple were rumoured to have become engaged in October last year, just two weeks before Jonathan’s lifechanging incident.
The Sherlock actress went Instagram official with him that month and also professed her love for him in a sweet comment on his page.
Jonathan – who has performed on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel and The Jonathan Ross Show – then added an engagement ring to his bio, suggesting he had popped the question.
Amanda – who split from husband Martin Freeman five years ago – shared her first picture with Jonathan, posting a throwback from a recent romantic getaway that she captioned: ‘When in Vienna, you hang out at the graveyards. What of it.’
James and Amanda: The stuntman shared a photo of him with his fiancee, Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, as they celebrated his release from the hospital
Her post came after Jonathan shared his first picture of the pair earlier in the month, penning: ‘That was possibly the longest game of hide and seek ever….❤️’
Amanda then commented: ‘I love you. ❤️’
The rumours came just nine months after Amanda revealed she had split from The Queen’s Gambit actor Jonjo O’Neill after four years.
The TV star started dating Irishman Jonjo, 42, after she split from actor Martin, 50, in 2016 after 16 years together.
Amanda, known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock, and Jonjo took the step of moving in together in her Hertfordshire home during the pandemic last year.
The actress announced the split to fans on her Instagram Live, saying: ‘Sadly no Irishman anymore. He’s gone… it’s fine, it’s just one of those things.’
Cute couple: Amanda shared her first picture with Jonathan on Monday, posting a throwback that she captioned: ‘When in Vienna, you hang out at the graveyards. What of it’
Sweet: Her post came after Jonathan shared his first picture of the pair, penning: ‘That was possibly the longest game of hide and seek ever….❤️’ Amanda then commented: ‘I love you’
The mother-of-two hinted at her heartbreak by saying she was, ‘very sad for personal reasons’ and admitting she was struggling with lockdown because she was ‘on my own in the house’, The Sun reports.
She added: ‘At the moment I’m quite fragile… I’m a fragile girl at the moment.’
Amanda also joked that she had joined a dating app in a bid to combat her loneliness.
She wrote: ‘I go on Tinder. No, I’ve never been on Tinder, nor would I, that was a joke. Being on your own, certainly, you build your strength up and you get a sense of perspective.’
Case of the ex: The rumours come just nine months after Amanda revealed she had split from The Queen’s Gambit actor Jonjo O’Neill after four years (pictured in September 2019)
Amanda and Jonjo first began dating in November 2016 – nine months after she secretly split from The Office star Martin.
The actress recently discussed her break up from Martin as she expressed fears that they had given their two children ‘irreparable damage’ after their split.
The couple share son Joe, 15, and daughter Grace, 12.
Talking to fans in April during an Instagram live for the It’s Ok mental health campaign, which she is an ambassador of, Amanda admitted it is ‘unsettling’ if she pretends to be a Stepford Wife parent and doesn’t want to ‘hide’ anything from her children.
Amanda said during the video, which was broadcast to 49.1K followers: ‘I think it’s unsettling if I pretend I’m this Stepford Wife parent.
‘Nobody is. I’m sure I’ve given them irreparable damage and they will be going to therapy because of me and Martin at some point.’
Candid: Amanda recently discussed her break up from Martin as she expressed fears that they had given their two children ‘irreparable damage’ after their split IN 2016
She continued: ‘If I can teach them to talk about it, say there’s nothing to be frightened of or ashamed of with whatever you’re going through.
‘Whether you get drunk or try drugs, whatever you do — this place where we live is a safe place where you can say whatever you like.
‘That’s what I am striving for and what Martin strives for as well — to create a place where they’re not hiding anything.’
Amanda added that it is important to discuss mental health with her children and for them to know that some days are ‘hard’ for her so it’s not a ‘dirty secret’.
She said: ‘To hide this from my children, that sometimes I get depressed or if I’m on antidepressants, what are you saying about all these mental health issues? Are you saying they’re offensive and shouldn’t happen? I don’t want that.’
The clan: Amanda and Martin share son Joe, 15, and daughter Grace, 12 (Martin is pictured with their kids last year)