10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Judge Bruno Tonioli
8. Early Life
Bruno Tonioli was born on November 25, 1955, in Ferrara, located in North East Italy, to Werther and Fulvia Tonioli. When he was young, his father worked as a bus driver while his mother stitched car-seat covers and he was also raised by his paternal grandparents whom his family lived with until he was 12. “Dad was a bus driver, and when he finished work he would repair cars. Mum had a job fitting upholstery into cars, but, in the evenings, she worked as a seamstress. Despite having two jobs, she would walk home every lunchtime and cook lunch, then prepare dinner every night. When people complain that they are working hard – especially celebrities – I always remember my poor mother and think, ‘You don’t know what hard work is,'” he told the Daily Mail of his childhood and his parents.
While Bruno Tonioli is outgoing, confident and proud to be gay, it did cause problems for him growing up in a small Catholic Italian town. In an interview with Mirror, he revealed that he dealt with a lot of bullying because of his sexuality. “When I was 10 I knew there was something different about me. Everyone was football-mad but I just wanted to watch musicals and see art. It was frightening. I really WAS the only gay in the village. I was labelled ‘the queenie guy’ and ‘the queer,’ which was worst thing you could be told in Italy those days.” Things only got worse as he got older and his dancing attracted the attention of the ladies in the town. “I always danced very well, so the great-looking girls would dance around me. One night a bunch of lads got jealous about this. They shouted, ‘You poofter!’ and chased me from the club with a broken bottle, then pinned me up against a wall. I eventually chatted myself out of it with wit and imagination – but I was very lucky.”