BGT judge Bruno Tonioli looking at the camera

BGT star Bruno Tonioli on ‘relentless period’ of his life amid series of deaths: ‘It was seven years of nightmare’

Bruno lost a lot of members of his family and friends in a short space of time

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He has become a firm favourite in his role as a judge on BGT, bringing joy to viewers every weekend – but Bruno Tonioli once opened up on a “relentless” seven-year period which saw many of his family members and friends die in succession.

Bruno, 68, first lost somebody close to him when his mother Fulvia died from a heart attack at the age of 63 in 1994.

Soon after Fulvia’s death, Bruno’s dad Werther developed Alzheimer’s.

Bruno Tonioli
Bruno’s succession of bereavements were bookended by the loss of his parents (Credit:

Bruno Tonioli family

Werther wouldn’t pass away until July 2001, but Bruno’s close circle was struck by loss many times before then.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 2017, Bruno broke down in tears as he spoke about grief.

He said: “Everybody passed away. Not just my mum – then my grandma, my grandfather, very close friends in London. It was a relentless period where you have knock after knock. It was seven years of nightmare.

“I was lucky to have a group of very close friends to support me.”

Dedicating the Rod Stewart song In My Life to them, Bruno said: “In spite of what has happened in my life, I might have moved away, but they’re still part of me.”

Bruno on Strictly

Speaking about his parents’ reaction to his work in the world of dance Bruno told the Mirror in 2005: “When I became successful as a choreographer, they realised I was earning a living doing what I liked to do. It all turned out fine, but it took a good 10 years. I could tell they were proud of me.

“My father was a keen ballroom dancer, and he would do that with my mother every weekend up until she died. He would have loved Strictly Come Dancing.”

Strictly Come Dancing
Bruno said his dad would have ‘loved’ Strictly Come Dancing (Credit:

Bruno acted as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 until 2019.

Due to his work on Dancing with the Stars in the US, he was replaced by Anton Du Beke in 2020 due to Covid travel restrictions.

He joined the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent in 2023, replacing David Walliams.

Read more: The One Show viewers distracted by Bruno Tonioli’s appearance: ‘Bruno or Madge from Benidorm?’

The BGT final airs tonight (Sunday, June 2) at 7.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.

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