Wilnelia Forsyth talks about her 27-year marriage to Strictly Come Dancing host and showbiz legend Brucie in the C4 documentary Living With Brucie (Wednesday, July 14)…
So what is it like being married to Bruce Forsyth?
“We are so lucky. I was amazed to realise that we’ve been married for 27 years – the time has gone by so fast.”
What made you do the documentary about your life together?
“In the beginning I had my doubts about doing the show, because we’ve been quite private, but I want viewers to see the difference between the man on stage and the man at home, how ordinary Bruce can be and how wonderful he is when we all get together as a family.”
How did you first meet?
“The first time we met, we were interviewing the girls for a later Miss World and the thing that really attracted me to Bruce was his sense of humour. He was joking with all the girls and made them feel so comfortable, so at ease.”
What else attracted you?
“His dancing. We danced all night – he asked me for a dance that evening and we never sat back down, we just stood there talking about our lives. I kept asking him, ‘Are you sure you’re really English?’ because he had such good rhythm. I was amazed!”
What was the courtship like?
“Romantic. Wherever I was he used to show up! I knew he was ‘the one’. He was charming, he was very understanding and he gave me my freedom. A lot of men I’d been out with had been very jealous and he wasn’t like that. He’s been incredible – he encouraged me so much with everything I wanted to do.”
Did you realise how big a name he was in England?
“I didn’t know anything about Bruce at first. It took me a few months to realise how big a star he was – there was no Google at the time! In England, everybody used to say his catchphrases on the street, and the first time I thought, ‘Oh my God, all his friends have come out to say hello!'”
What brought it all home to you?
“I went to his one-man show at the Talk of the Town nightclub in London. I was so amazed. He was doing a two-hour show and he was singing and dancing and playing the piano and doing it well. I thought, ‘My God, how talented he is.’ I still think he has a wonderful voice.”
Have you ever worried about the 32-year age gap?
“It’s never been a worry for me because when I’m with him, I don’t feel an age difference. Sometimes he feels younger than me! It was really a big worry for other people though, and a lot of them thought it would never work.”
What was it like meeting his five daughters?
“When I first met the girls I changed clothes so many times, because I wanted to look older, silly me! I was really worried about it, but as soon as I met them they realised how in love we were, and that it was going to work, so I was accepted immediately. My relationship with them has been wonderful from the beginning.”
Why did you get married in New York?
“Bruce, having been married before, didn’t want to have a circus wedding here in England and if we’d married in Puerto Rico, we would have had to invite half of the island! We only had 30 guests and it was very special – the snow even came down. My family had never seen snow before, so they were more interested in that than me getting married!”
Would you ever appear on Strictly Come Dancing?
“Being Latin, dancing is in my blood, so I’d love to go on the programme. I’d have to give some earplugs to Bruce when the judges started saying horrible things about me, though!”
Are you glad you made the film?
“Yes. Filming this has made me realise how blessed I am to be accepted into Bruce’s life and into his family, and how wonderful these past 27 years have been. I’m so lucky in so many ways.’