Tristan MacManus: ''I’ve been trying to find a reason to come home”
Bray’s dancing export Tristan MacManus is leaving the Hollywood hills and heading for the BBC studios as he signs up to new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The Dancing with the Stars pro will return to Britain to take part in the 12th season of the popular British show.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy on 2fm today, the Co Wicklow man said he is excited to be coming closer to home:
“I was delighted when the opportunity came up...It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been trying to find a reason to come home”.
The 31-year-old will be joined by his new wife, Australian actress Tahyna Tozzi.
After a five year relationship, the pair tied the knot in January in a lavish celebration in Sydney.
The doting newlywed spoke highly of his stunning wife who has just directed her first film, saying “There's not too much she can’t do, I’m tagging along with her”.
On his dancing background, Tristan credits his gran Phyllis with igniting his passion for ballroom by enrolling him in classes as a youngster:
“She took me and my sister in to Enniskerry and then to Bray, Dublin and Crumlin. Her and my grandad Joe are still dancing away”.
Ironically, Tristan is usually paired with “ladies of a certain vintage” on the hit US show Dancing With The Stars.
His first partner was the TV host Nancy Grace (54).
“Nancy was a bit of a nightmare but great craic, we would fight every week but it was a nice bit of banter, they used to give me people with personality, I’ve been lucky with the people I've had”.
He went on to partner with soul legend Gladys Knight, Olympic ice skater Dorothy Hamill and actresses Valerie Harper and Pamela Anderson.
Growing up, Tristan juggled his secret love for ballroom dancing with soccer practise with his peers:
“In my eyes nobody used to know I used to do it. Then one day I was walking home and two of the lads started dancing down the road- I knew I was caught out”.
“It worked out for me in the end”, he joked.
Still a massive soccer fan, he occasionally goes to watch fellow Irish expat Robbie Keane play with the LA Galaxy team.
While living in Hollywood, Tristan certainly didn’t forget his roots.
He recorded a surprise video for young cancer patient Merryn Lacy ahead of the charity fundraiser ‘Strictly Merryn’, telling the 5-year-old he “couldn’t wait to meet her when he gets back home”.