When Bruno Tonioli missed an episode of Strictly Come Dancing back in October, it sparked a wave of confusion and concern among fans.
It was the first time Bruno, 62, had ever been absent from an episode of Strictly since the show began 13 years ago.
At the time, both BBC and Bruno said it was because of his work schedule, with Bruno telling fans Strictly clashed with his role as a judge over on Dancing With The Stars in the US.
Now, in an interview with Desert Island Discs, the star has explained he requested the time off because he feared his gruelling transatlantic schedule could “kill” him.
He told Kirsty Young: “It was part of my contract. Physically, it’s going to kill me. This year I had literally no gaps. I started [Dancing With The Stars] in America the same week as [Strictly Come Dancing] this year.
“It was a total overlap all the way through and I said, ‘You have to give me a week off. I don’t have time for my body to recover.’
“It was always agreed and decided. I would never just say, ‘I’m not doing it!’ I’m a pro!”
Kirsty suggested Bruno had a “pretty tight work schedule” to which he agreed.
Explaining his intense schedule, Bruno said: “We do the [Strictly] launch here, then I go to Los Angeles to start the show [Dancing With The Stars] there.
“I am in LA on Monday and Tuesday, get on a plane Wednesday, get into London on Thursday, have Friday to get my schedule for the show on Saturday, then on Sunday I’m back in the car, back on the plane, arrive Sunday night, do the show in LA on Monday and Tuesday, then come back to the UK.
“That’s September until the end of December.”
Bruno confessed he feels like a “space cadet” at times and it is physically draining to fly so often between the two countries.
“You never get to go out or see anyone and you really have to discipline yourself so you save your energy for the shows,” he said.
“You feel like your brain is detached from your body and never quite know where you are. You have 15 people [celebrity contestants] there, and 15 here, and you have to constantly come up with one liners so you don’t let people down.
“They are expecting something from you and you have to put on a show.”
Just take care of yourself, Bruno, okay?