Their feet have barely touched the ground in the past few months and life is about to get even busier for Strictly Come Dancing professionals Janette Manrara and Aljaz Skorjanec. So when the husband and wife team grabbed a chance to recharge their batteries, they made the most of it.
Taking time out from their busy schedule, the dancing duo sneaked away for a break at the five-star Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire (the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh spent part of their honeymoon there in 1947, when it was a private house) and invited hello! along for this exclusive photoshoot and interview.
With the Strictly UK tour about to start, their romantic weekend enjoying pampering treatments and dinner by candlelight couldn’t have come at a better time.
“This is a perfect little getaway for us – a proper date night,” Janette tells us, wrapping herself in a fluffy white bathrobe in the couple’s sumptuous suite. “Even though we live together and work together and do everything together, it’s easy to fall into a routine of work, dance, travel and family and forget to have ‘us’ time.”
Watching the couple lark around on their king-size bed and exchange playful banter, it’s clear the chemistry that drew them together almost nine years ago is still as strong as ever. They married in 2017, tying the knot with ceremonies in London, Miami and Aljaz’s native Slovenia.
“Aljaz makes me smile, he makes me laugh, he makes me happy and he makes me feel like a princess,” Janette says. “On our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to a song from Cinderella because I always say I found my Prince Charming.
“Aljaz is the epitome of chivalry. He opens doors for me, he grabs my bags for me and he just really takes care of me. He’s a proper old-fashioned gentleman. I think chivalry can sometimes get lost these days and I love the romance of that – him treating me like a Disney princess.”
While their love story has had a happy ending, it didn’t get off to the best of starts. The couple met in 2010, when they were cast in the West End dance show Burn the Floor, and, while Aljaz was instantly smitten, Miami-born Janette wasn’t so sure.
“I was the one that fell in love at first sight and I had to beg her to go out with me,” Aljaz says. “As soon as we started spending time together it was obvious we were soulmates.”
Laughing, Janette adds: “I remember the first time we went out with the cast of the show. Aljaz came up to me and said: ‘I’m going to marry you some day.’ I said: ‘Okay, sure.’
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January 28, 2019