Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec reveal ‘Strictly saved our marriage'

Strictly stars Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec chat love and life in lockdown and how the show saved their relationship…

How has lockdown been for you both?

Janette: I learned that Aljaz really is good at doing nothing (laughs). What HE learned was that I can never keep my feet still. He always knew I was a busy body and that I liked working and moving but I learned to pace myself. I was always like, ‘Go, go, go…’ and I never stopped but being at home in the pandemic - and learning to cook, I didn’t know to cook. 

So you became domesticated at last! 

Janette: I think I used the kitchen for the first time! I kinda had to force myself to stop and listen. That’s why we work. He’s my rock in every way because I over think, over panic, I get stressed and I want to make everything is just right and he is like the soothing, calm in every one of those moments.

Aljaz: I’m basically the exact opposite. I do all the cooking and am overly calm! 

Sounds like you must be exhausted Aljaz!

It was an interesting one because we work together, we live together and that’s not normal for your average couple to leave home and then see each other again at work. Being on tour, we never really fully got to enjoy being at home and it was the first time in ten years of being together having the dynamic that most couples do every day. I absolutely love having a little routine every day that doesn’t change because you are off to another city. I’ve actually really, really enjoyed it. 

You’ve been busy with your new show Remembering The Oscars, out this month.

Alijaz: It took a lot of planning, I’m not gonna lie. We got quite emotional because we feel this is the best tour to date that we have managed to produce. And then finding out we couldn’t tour it, doing this streaming version feels like coming full circle bringing it to as many people as possible. 

Janette: It just feels like you are at the Oscars. I can’t even count the number of costume changes. The costumes went up another level. If we are talking about celebrating the Oscars then it’s all about what you are wearing.

You’re Strictly’s favourite lovebirds - how do you feel about being dubbed a ‘celebrity couple’?

Janette: We talk about this all the time. I think the moment you call yourself a celebrity you are heading down the wrong direction. I prefer to call myself an artist or an entertainer or a professional - anything that I feel like has more merit than the word celebrity. We have a fabulous life and we are grateful for every single person that comes and watches the show and is a fan of us but for us the priority is that we are putting something out that’s artistic and creative and has proper talent behind it. 

If you're wondering who is on Strictly Come Dancing 2021? - Aljaz is confirmed for the show.

Strictly has been a huge part of your lives…

Janette: We’ve been lucky because all the Strictly fans have been incredible. It’s a family-friendly show When people see us on the street and say hello, it’s usually parents and their kids, and grandparents. It’s such a lovely audience and to become a part of that is really special.

Aljaz - what would you have done if you weren’t a dancer?

To be really honest with you, I was always scared to ask myself that question because there was a time in my life when I was about 18 or 19 when I didn’t want to dance again and just by chance I got back into it, theatre and TV, so I never want to answer that question because I was so close to not being a dancer. Today, looking back, I’d have hated that decision. 

Janette: I found a love of presenting, actually. I love talking to people, I’m curious about people’s lives and their stories and what makes someone tick. Whatever I do in my life, creativity will be a part of it because I love it too so much. 

What about later in your career, after Strictly?

Aljaz: We’ve been so fortunate to get a job on the biggest TV show in the country and to get that job together and do it for eight seasons. Whatever the future holds, if it is half of what the past was, I’m going to be very very pleased. God knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Janette: Strictly saved us 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 to go back to LA and we were just going to figure it out and do the long distance thing so when we got the phone call to do Strictly it didn’t just give us stability work wise. It saved our relationship. We got engaged on Strictly, married on Strictly so it’s always been the biggest Strictly blessing instead of a Strictly curse. 

The couple have since announced they are expecting their first 'miracle' baby together.

Checkout www.rememberingtheoscars.com to catch the show

Hayley is a Celebrity Features Editor with more than five years' experience in online and magazines. She currently looks after all things celebrity for Woman, Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly, Woman & Home, and Goodto.com. Before joining Future, Hayley spent a year as a TV reporter for Mirror Online and a year and a half as a showbiz and TV reporter for OK! Online - but was forced to write about tech and cars for a year before that, despite knowing nothing about either!.