Strictly Come Dancing stars Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec have announced that they are expecting their first child together. Manrara, who quit her role as a professional dancer two years ago so they could try for a baby, revealed that the news came just as the couple were preparing to start IVF treatment.
The pair starred alongside each other on Strictly Come Dancing for many years before Manrara stepped down in 2021 to become a co-host of the spin-off show It Takes Two. Last year, Škorjanec announced he was also leaving the BBC dance competition after nine years on the show.
When did they announce the pregnancy?
The couple made the announcement in an interview with Hello Magazine. The interview also showcases Manrara’s baby bump in a series of photos.
Speaking to the magazine, Manrara, 39, said: “For the past couple of years we hadn’t been using protection but nothing was happening, so we thought IVF was the next best thing for us to do. I turn 40 later this year and the NHS offers really good services to women under 40. The doctor said that as soon as I got my period we would start injections, but my period never came.
“I know that IVF can be really strenuous on a woman’s body and there is no guarantee it will work, so to know that this little miracle just came from a wonderful night we had together is amazing. I think the baby decided to make Mum and Dad panic a bit before saying, ‘ok, fine, I’m coming up now.’”
Reflecting on the moment that Manrara told him she was pregnant, Škorjanec, 33, said: “I was beside myself. I feel like I’ve been thinking and dreaming about that moment for so long. We were preparing for IVF mentally and physically and then it was just a relief to finally have that positive test. I have so much respect for any parent that goes through IVF, not just for what it puts them through physically but mentally too.”
According to the interview, their baby is due in late summer this year.
Both Manrara and Škorjanec also shared the news on Instagram as well, with their fellow Strictly Come Dancing co-stars wishing them well in the comments.
Judge Shirley Ballas and professional Gorka Marquez both wrote “Congratulations”, with Katya Jones adding: “This is the most wonderful news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Dancer Dianne Buswell commented: “Yayyyyyyyy so excited for you”
“Awww that’s amazing. Congratulations to you both,” former Strictly dancer Ola Jordan wrote.
How long have Janette Manrara and Aljaž Škorjanec been together?
The two first met back in 2010, when Manrara joined Škorjanec and a number of other Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers in Burn the Floor, a live dance show which has toured around the world since 1997.
They got engaged in 2015, and in 2017 Manrara and Škorjanec had not one but three wedding ceremonies in different locations around the world. They began in London, which was where they legally got married with a marriage certificate, on 15 July.
Speaking of the first wedding, Manrara said: “The day we got married was in London, 15 July. That was in London at Chelsea town hall. My parents and brother and sister and Aljaž’s parents, his sister and her husband, and just our closest friends were all there. So that moment was ‘the moment’ when we signed the papers, marriage certificate.”
Manrara and Škorjanec then went on to have another ceremony in Slovenia and in Florida.