Inside Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara's marriage, as pro dancer quits Strictly

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec have been married for five years. (Getty Images)
Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec have been married for five years. (Getty Images)

There is no such thing as the Strictly curse for dancers Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec as theirs remains one of the show's most enduring romances.

The pair met 12 years ago before they became household names thanks to Strictly Come Dancing.

They joined Strictly in 2013 and quickly became two of the show's biggest stars with Skorjanec winning the glitterball trophy in his first season with model Abbey Clancy, and Manrara being runner-up with pop star HRVY in series 18.

But Manrara, 38, quit the show last year to present Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, and this week Skorjanec, 32, announced he was following in his wife's footsteps, leaving fans heartbroken.

Read more: Kelvin Fletcher on being turned down for Strictly Come Dancing twice, before going on to win the whole series

Skorjanec wrote an emotional Instagram post saying: "A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last. The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last 9 years."

His wife responded with: "I cannot express the sadness in my heart to see @aljazscorjanec say goodbye to @bbcstrictly, but at the same time there is so much joy in my heart for what he has brought to the show these past 9 years. I have admired him from the day I met him for his passion for dancing, but more than anything for his kindness towards anyone he encounters. As his wife and best friend, I could not be happier to know that he made so many smile during his time in Strictly; not just those who were watching from home, but also those who work behind the scenes. He makes every single person he encounters feel absolutely special; ask any of his partners throughout the years. He IS STRICTLY and what Strictly is all about; taking someone who wants to learn to dance, and making them truly fall in love with it."

Read more: Gordon Ramsay would 'love' to appear on Strictly Come Dancing after daughter Tilly's stint

Manrara says Strictly saved her relationship with Skorjanec. (Getty Images)
Manrara says Strictly saved her relationship with Skorjanec. (Getty Images)

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing's Janette Manrara pays tribute to husband Aljaz as he quits show

Manrara's post left fans in no doubt that theirs is one of the most solid relationships in showbiz.

The couple met at a London dance studio back in 2009, and Manrara has said getting the Strictly gig saved their relationship.

Speaking to The Sun, Manrara said: "Strictly Come Dancing it saved us. It saved us really, in every way.

"Aljaz and I were at a point in our relationship where he was going to possibly have to move back to Slovenia and I was going back to Los Angeles, and we were going to try the long-distance thing and see what happened.

“So when we got that phone call to come and join Strictly it didn’t only give us stability work-wise, it saved our relationship.”

Read more: Aljaz Skorjanec quits 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Skorjanec and Manrara have been married for five years. (Getty Images)
Skorjanec and Manrara have been married for five years. (Getty Images)

The couple got engaged in 2015 and got married in 2017 which they celebrated with three different ceremonies – one in London, one in Skorjanec's native Slovenia and another in Miami where Manrara is from.

Manrara told The Sun: “We got engaged on Strictly, we got married while being on Strictly. For us it’s always been the biggest Strictly blessing instead of a Strictly curse, and we owe everything to the show really.”

During 2020 the couple's relationship underwent its biggest test as they were separated for months in Covid bubbles to enable Strictly to go on despite the pandemic.

Bu Manrara said their enforced separation brought them closer than ever – and helped them reach an important decision about their future.

Watch now: Janette Manrara is announced as new host of Strictly: It Takes Two

Speaking to Hello, Manrara said: "We always wanted to have a baby, but 2020 has definitely made me say to myself: 'You know what, Janette, it's never going to be the perfect time but it's always going to be the right time.'"

"As a woman who's a dancer, my body is my job so it's scary to make that decision about the perfect time to start a family. I always thought there would be a perfect month and year, but what 2020 has made me realise is that perfect time is never going to come along.

"We're definitely ready to be parents so we will see when that moment comes – you can't plan it. We will be beside ourselves and Aljaz will be the best dad. He is such a wonderful man and I'm so lucky to have him."

So will 2022 be the year that Strictly's most loved-up stars hear the patter of tiny feet?