DWTS judge Bruno Tonioli talks about his final email from Len Goodman in emotional moment

judge bruno tonioli during Dancing With The Stars 2019 Top Six Finalists show
Dancing with the Stars judge Bruno Tonioli will return for Season 32. Pic credit: © Bennight/AdMedia

As Dancing with the Stars heads toward its 32nd season, Bruno Tonioli prepares for another installment of the hit competition show as one of its judges.

Tonioli has pretty much seen it all during his time on DWTS, as he’s been part of the series since 2005.

Earlier this year, the Italian choreographer and famous television personality lost his longtime friend and fellow judge, Len Goodman.

Much like Tonioli, Goodman, an English professional dancer and teacher, had also been part of the American DWTS show since its debut 18 years ago.

For many, the DWTS star’s death came as a shock. However, Tonioli revealed he’d known about Goodman’s health situation ahead of time.

As he prepares for Season 32, he recently spoke about his friend’s passing and the final email he received from Goodman before that occurred.

Bruno Tonioli shares final email from Len Goodman in an emotional moment

During an appearance on Live with Mark and Kelly, Tonioli opened up about his friend’s passing, revealing that he knew “well before” it happened and that Goodman “wanted to be completely private.” He said it was “hard,” but he wanted to keep things private about Goodman’s situation.

“And then I got back, and I knew something- it was going to go to a place, etcetera…but I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon,” he shared with the hosts.

Tonioli said when it was announced he would be a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, he received an email from Goodman. He explained that the message was “very nice” and ended with a “thank you.”

“He would hate doing this,” Tonioli said after talking about the email, explaining Goodman would not want him to act sad about his passing.

“Come on. Get up, Bruno!” Tonioli said, mimicking his late friend, “You’re a lucky man. We had a great life. We had a great time. Enjoy it. Make every day count. Have a good time.” 

“That’s his spirit, so we have to celebrate him,” Tonioli told the audience as they began to cheer and applaud.

As Monsters and Critics reported, Goodman passed in April at 78 from bone cancer. His agent, Jackie Gill, said he “passed away peacefully.” The longtime DWTS judge had announced his retirement from the show months before the news.

He also received a standing ovation in November 2022 after his retirement news, as shown in the clip below.

DWTS has a new head judge for Season 32

While Season 32 has not received an official premiere date or cast reveal, some details are already known. The confirmed celebrity contestants are Vanderpump Rules’ Ariana Madix, The Bachelorette’s Charity Lawson, and actor Mira Sorvino.

Actor and TV host Alfonso Ribeiro, known for America’s Funniest Home Videos and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, will host DWTS. Former DWTS professional dancer and judge Julianne Hough will co-host the upcoming season.

Julianne’s brother, former DWTS pro dancer Derek Hough, is taking over as the new head judge for the show. He appeared as one of the show’s judges in 2022 alongside Goodman, Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba.

Hough, 38, is a three-time Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography winner.

In May, Hough said Goodman’s passing was a “huge shock” for many, including himself, calling it “incredibly sad.” Hough said he’d known Goodman since he was 12.

“I feel incredibly emotional and sad about it. And then at the same time, I feel so grateful that the last season that we shared together… I really savored the moments I spent with him and we were playful with each other and we had these one on one conversations,” Hough told People.

Dancing with the Stars Season 32 premieres on ABC and Disney+ in Fall 2023.

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