Janette Manrara shares heartbreaking reality after missing loved ones funeral
Strictly: It Takes Two presenter Janette Manrara, 39, has been forced to recognise the personal “sacrifices” that have come as a result of her career keeping her in the UK and away from her loved ones.
The dancer was given a painful reminder of the distance between herself and her family, as she had to miss her grandfather’s funeral in Miami this month.
Janette, who is expecting her first baby with husband and fellow former Strictly pro Aljaz Skorjanec, 33, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about her heartbreaking loss.
While gearing up to take on a dream role in the forthcoming Disney 100: The Concert tour, Janette was rocked by the death of her grandfather, whom she had spent a great deal of her childhood with, after living with him since she was seven-years-old.
Janette explained that although she was somewhat prepared for the loss, due to her grandfather being “unwell for about two and a half years”, the toughest part of the bereavement was not being able to support her family at the funeral.
The presenter poignantly admitted to Express.co.uk: “It really kind of puts in my face that there is a sacrifice to be away from your family, it’s a nine and a half hour flight across the ocean to get to them.
“So I kind of laid low over the weekend, I did have a couple of work things and events that I needed to go to, but I didn’t really post much on my socials.
“I was just kind of home as much as I could be with Aljaz and I looked through lots of family videos and photos of me and him together.
“My mother, FaceTimed me when the eulogy was being given, so I can feel I was there, and I sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers to put next to his casket, on behalf of Aljaz and I.”
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Janette continued: “When you think about showbiz and entertainment, and the glitz and glamour of everything that we do in our industry, it is wonderful, and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for the world, I love what I do.
“But everything does come with sacrifices, and for Aljaz and I, who are so close to our families, that is probably the biggest one is that we cannot be there sometimes for these big, big moments in our family’s lives.”
Janette is now hoping that her parents will be able to get “a nice boost of happiness” by watching her host the Disney 100 tour in the UK, as they are “the biggest fans” of Disney and the iconic music from the films.
She added: “My parents are trying to see if they can book some kind of a flight to come and watch the Disney 100 tour because they are the biggest fans, especially my dad, who loves Disney music.
“It’s like his dream, he was always listening to Disney music. So yeah, we’ll see if they’re able to come, it just depends on work and things and it’s not a quick flight, like I said, to get over here.
“But I think for them, it will be a nice boost of happiness to come and watch a show.”
Sharing the joy the role of hosting Disney 100: The Concert has brought into her life, Janette gushed: “I was so excited because I just thought, ‘oh my gosh, this is such a beautiful evening’.
“The orchestra is huge – it takes up the whole stage – the LED screen is just as big, and the voices of our singers that we’ve got, they’re all Broadway, West End singers, so they’ve got incredible vocals.
“So for little me, as a mega fan, to be there and be a part of the show, I keep saying I’m the Jiminy Cricket on the night, I’ll be your guide.
“You know, it’s magical, and I feel like if you’re a Disney fan, and you love Disney films, it’s 100 years of Disney music, so there’s definitely going to be something for everyone in the family that they can connect to.”
Janette Manrara will host Disney 100: The Concert, celebrating Disney’s seminal music from the last century performed by live orchestra and guest singers which starts 31st May in Glasgow. Tour dates and tickets can be found at disneytickets.co.uk
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