'Strictly's' Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec say joining show saved their relationship

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22:  Janette Manrara (L) and Aljaz Skorjanec attend the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec say 'Strictly' has been great for their relationship. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The Strictly Curse might be a worry for many partners of celebrities signing up to dance, but for two of its stars the show actually saved their relationship.

Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec were already a couple as well as dance partners when they joined the pro cast in 2013 and they went on to marry in 2017.

Read more: Janette Manrara and It Takes Two - all you need to know

But far from worrying that one of them would leave the relationship for a celebrity partner, the pair have said their romance might not have survived without Strictly.

After meeting and falling in love on the tour of Broadway show Burn the Floor, the couple faced trying to make a long-distance relationship work between Skorjanec's native Slovenia and Manrara's Los Angeles home once the show ended - until Strictly came calling.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara  attend the
The couple married in 2017. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Manrara told the Sliding Doors podcast: "The thought of doing the whole long-distance thing made it hard for us. We were very scared about what was going to happen to our relationship."

She added of being asked to audition together: "They called me first and asked me to join the show, I didn’t scream but my face said it all. Within five minutes they called him straight after.

"It was a dream come true. Getting Strictly Come Dancing was the most incredible thing, not just for my career but for my personal life and marriage with Aljaz because if it wasn’t for Strictly, I don’t know if we could have worked through the long-distance thing."

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Aljaž Škorjanec, Sara Davies - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Aljaz Skorjanec is dancing with Sara Davies this year. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

This series, Skorjanec is partnering Dragons' Den star Sara Davies, while Manrara has left the ballroom behind to host spin-off show It Takes Two.

During the interview, the couple also spoke about how they had "always wanted to have a baby" and decided during lockdown that it was "never going to be the perfect time but it's always going to be the right time".

Read more: The One Show's awkward baby blunder with Strictly couple

Manrara, 37, said: "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."

Watch: Janette Manrara is new host of It Takes Two