In a revealing interview on BBC Radio 4’s Christmas episode of Desert Island Discs – set to air later today – the dancer and choreographer’s voice cracked and he was forced to pause mid-show.
The 62-year-old remembered the death of his mother and close friends back in the 1990s as he dedicated Rod Stewart’s version of In My Life to them.
Bruno also broke his silence on missing an episode of Strictly for the first time ever, admitting the BBC show is taking a toll on his health.
“This song is dedicated to all the people that have passed away,” the Italian started. “In spite of what has happened in my life, I might have moved away – hopefully I will keep moving – but they are still part of me, they are still… I’m getting emotional.”
Bruno told host Kirsty Young about the significant moments in his life – from his distant relationship with his mechanic and ballroom dancer father, his first break in theatre with a touring Parisian company, working for stars such as Bananarama and the sudden death of his mum 23 years ago.
The star also confessed that filming Strictly Come Dancing at the same time as Dancing With The Stars in the US, was what forced him to skip a weekend instalment.
Dismissing rumours that the absence was connected to his love life, Bruno stated: “It was part of my contract because, physically, it’s going to kill me. This year I had no gaps… it was a total overlap all the way through.
“I said, ‘You have to give me a week off because I don’t have time for my body to re-energise,’ and it was agreed. I didn’t just say I didn’t want to do it. I would never do that, I’m a pro.”
Meanwhile, Bruno added – for the first time – how he had avoided military service by proving his sexuality to the Italian armed forces.
“I had a wonderful fur coat at the time and all these press clippings from the show. I was very meek and just went along as I am, with this coat and clippings, for the appointment with the top guy,” he stated.
Desert Island Discs will air today on Radio 4 at 11.15am.