Inside the life of Strictly’s Motsi Mabuse from tough sacrifices to family life

Strictly’s Motsi Mabuse kisses Shirley Ballas

Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse has been on the panel since 2019 alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke.

Motsi first took over from Darcey Bussell and certainly was the right choice to fill her iconic shoes.

During the latest series of Strictly, Motsi has been struggling to find flaws in many of the dancer’s performances, with the competition being so strong.

This year she was the first judge to give out a score of 10, leading the rest of the judges to follow suit. has looked back through Motsi’s life from her dramatic career change to her very private family life.

Early life and career before Strictly

Motsi was born in Mankwe, which is now in South Africa, and her family moved to Pretoria when she was five.

After finding a passion for dancing when she was younger, she began training while studying at the University of Pretoria.

She wen on to compete in national championships and won the German Latin dance contest with her now-husband in 2013.

Away from dancing, Motsi began her journalism career and appeared on the ARD broadcasting team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

She also served as a judge on various German TV talent shows, including Das Supertalent in 2011.

Motsi later became a professional dancer on Germany’s Let’s Dance, before being recruited on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Despite her passion for dancing, Motsi almost never became a dancer as her family expected her to become a lawyer and join the family firm.

However, she instead pursued life as a dancer, redirecting her career goals to centre around it, and in 1998 it paid off as she was the runner-up in the national championships.

Sacrifices for following her passion

When she first was recruited for her judging role on the BBC One hit dancing show Strictly, Motsi was travelling back and forth from Germany to continue competing and judging.

The star recently opened up about how she coped going between the two countries while also maintaining her career.

Speaking to the Mirror she said: “The most important thing in life is my family. I am really grateful for Strictly and the exciting opportunities it throws up, but family will always come first.

“My biggest cheerleader is… my husband. He is so supportive and both he and our daughter are always waiting for me when I get home from filming with huge grins on their faces.”

Keeping it in the family

Motsi isn’t the only one in the family who has a passion for dancing as both her sisters also followed suit.

Her younger sister Oti Mabuse was a professional dancer on Strictly after joining in 2015 and took home the Glitterball Trophy in 2020 with Bill Bailey.

After a seven-year run, Oti decided to step away from Strictly and went on to host her own show Romeo and Duet.

Motsi and Oti also have their other sister Phemelo who has swerved fame even though she is said to be the best dancer of the lot.

Private home life

Whilst Motsi has found fame on Strictly Come Dancing, she has kept her family and home life private.

The star shares her three-year-old daughter with former dance partner and husband Evgenij Voznyuk, but they have never shared her name on social media.

Evgenij is Motsi’s second husband as she was previously married to German dancer Timo Kulczak, whom she met at the Blackpool Open Dance Championships.

The pair married in 2003 before divorcing after 11 years of marriage in 2014, before she went on to marry Evgenij in June 2017.

Evgenij is also not one for social media, with his Instagram set to private with only a few hundred followers.

Motsi shared a rare snap of the two out and about earlier this year, with Evgenij captioning the post: “On this day 4 years ago, The beginning of the rest of our lives. 4 years ago we Started this journey.

“It’s been one hell of a ride but we are still here! Happy birthday @motsimabuse_taunustanzschule !!! This is also a an official countdown.

“P.s Who’s permission do you need to dream big ???? #nevergiveup #lawofattraction #visualization.” (sic)

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