Bruno Tonioli Reveals He Always Stay So Grounded

Whether you watch "Strictly Come Dancing" or "Dancing with the Stars," you'll definitely recognize Bruno Tonioli. The Italian choreographer is currently Stateside, judging some of America's most familiar faces on "DWTS" while Anton Du Beke fills his seat on "Strictly" across the pond. Either way, fans of both shows know that neither would be the same without him.

While Tonioli has been on the judging panel for every season of "Dancing with the Stars" since it first aired in 2005, the choreographer has missed the last two seasons of the original British series. But in 2022, Tonioli will be rejoining the likes of Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas on the judging panel for a "Strictly Come Dancing" live tour."I've missed my fellow judges, I've missed the glitz and the glamour of the tour and I've missed the amazing audiences that come and see us all over the country," he said in a statement (via Hello!), adding, "I hope you have missed me too!"

With such a recognizable name — and face — it would be easy for someone in Tonioli's position to let the fame go to their head. However, the judge has a meaningful and poignant way to keep himself grounded.

Two imaginable losses have shaped Bruno Tonioli into never taking life for granted

Growing up, Bruno Tonioli lived in a small town in Northern Italy far from the bright lights of sound stages, per the Daily Mail. His parents had to each work two jobs to make ends meet; per Biogs, his mother was a car upholsterer and seamstress, while his father was a bus driver and mechanic. And though the family didn't have a TV, Tonioli received his first dance education from his parents. His father, a fan of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, would take a young Tonioli to watch musicals on the big screen, and, "in the evening, I would go to the ballroom and watch my parents dance the cha-cha-cha," the "Strictly" judge told the outlet.

And who would have thought that the boy whose father looked up to such huge stars would one day work as a choreographer with such A-list talent as Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones, per Tonioli's "DWTS" bio. But Tonioli's parents' work ethic has always kept him humbled. "When people complain that they are working hard — especially celebrities — I always remember my poor mother and think, 'You don't know what hard work is,'" the choreographer said. And the loss of both his parents changed Toniloi's perspective on fame and celebrity even more. 

"The shock" of losing his parents is "with me all the time, and it stops me from moaning about my life, or complaining about silly little things." Tonioli added that having "a taste of poverty" and surviving "two great losses," has given him the "biggest reality check."