Jonathan Goodwin has revealed he offered fiancée Amanda Abbington a way out of their ‘love story’ relationship after he was paralysed from the waist down when a TV stunt went horribly wrong.
The escapologist suffered life-changing injuries after he was crushed between two suspended cars while rehearsing a daredevil stunt for reality show America’s Got Talent: Extreme in 2021.
And Goodwin, 42, admits he would have understood had Abbington, 48, a popular actress whose screen credits include TV series Sherlock, opted to walk away from the relationship as he attempted to rebuild his life.
‘I should have died on the operating table from the accident, so I am incredibly lucky to be here,’ he said during a joint appearance on Tuesday’s Valentine’s Day instalment of Loose Women.
‘Not that I would recommend nearly dying but it’s incredible, therapy, and then I feel so lucky and I pinch myself.
Devastating: Jonathan Goodwin has revealed he offered fiancée Amanda Abbington a way out of their ‘love story’ relationship after he was paralysed from the waist down
‘It’s such a massive change, it’s like becoming an adult baby. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody but I think that with all the physical challenges I’ve had in my life I’m uniquely adapted to dealing with it.’
Of Abbington’s get-out clause, he added: ‘I would never judge you for that. The only thing we need to talk about is when we get married. It didn’t even cross our mind.’
The couple confirmed their engagement in 2021 after Goodwin proposed within minutes of meeting the actress for the first time in Vienna – but their emotional bond had organically developed over years of online exchanges and phone-calls.
Abbington had first crossed paths with the stuntman on Twitter in 2012, while they were both involved in other relationships – she with actor Martin Freeman, best known for his work on sitcom The Office and Peter Jackson blockbuster The Hobbit, and he with now ex-wife Katy.
A mutual respect for one another’s work sparked an initial friendship, but it would be a further nine years – by which time they were both single – before they finally fell for one another.
Nightmare: The escapologist suffered life-changing injuries after he was crushed between two suspended cars while rehearsing a stunt for reality show America’s Got Talent: Extreme in 2021
Candid: And Goodwin admits he would have understood had Abbington, a popular actress, opted to walk away from the relationship as he attempted to rebuild his life
Injured: The stuntman, who suffered third degree burns and spent four months in hospital after the incident, will need a wheelchair for the rest of his life after severing his spinal cord
Comparing their relationship to a cinematic love story, she admitted son Joe, 15 – the elder of her two children with Freeman – was already a huge fan of the stuntman long before they made contact with one another.
She said: ‘This is like a film. My son used to love watching your stunts, then I followed you, then we followed each other as mates. I became single and I didn’t know if she was, but I sent flirty messages.’
They eventually met for the first time while Abbington was filming on location in Austria, and Goodwin ensured he wouldn’t return to the UK before asking for her hand in marriage.
He told the Loose Women panel: ‘I flew to Vienna and we were engaged within half an hour… I had the ring, I knew I was going to meet the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with.’
Goodwin also admitted he was unsure if he and Abbington would even have the right chemistry to make a serious relationship work, adding: ‘I am such an odd character that the idea of meeting somebody that perfect for me… she ticked all my boxes, and others that I didn’t know I had.’
Let’s talk: Abbingdon and Goodwin discussed their relationship during an appearance on a Valentine’s Day instalment of Loose Women
Inseparable: Comparing their relationship to a cinematic love story, Abbington admitted her son Joe was already a fan of the stuntman long before they made contact with one another
The stuntman was released from hospital in February 2022 and Abbington later praised his bravery as he continued the long road to recovery.
She told the Out to Lunch podcast with Jay Rayner: ‘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.’
The actress also revealed the stuntman had sent her a voicemail before his surgery explaining that there was a 50 per cent chance he would not make it, so he told her he loved her and thanked her for the last couple of months of his life with her.
Goodwin, who has now retired from escapology, documented his four months in hospital recovering from injuries including burns and broken legs.
He has performed other similarly death-defying stunts before; In 2013, he wore a straightjacket and dangled from a blazing rope over the River Thames in London.
Getting better: Goodwin, who has now retired from escapology, documented his four months in hospital recovering from injuries including burns and broken legs