Strictly Come Dancing was a blessing for Oti Mabuse since it gave her the chance to be reunited with her sister, Motsi Mabuse. The stars, who hail from South Africa, spent almost one year apart due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Sharing her heartache over missing her family, the two-time Strictly winner told Lorraine on Thursday: "Actually the last time I had seen my sister was the Strictly final in 2019 and because of the travel bans I couldn't go over to see her on her birthday. We usually celebrate together so because of Strictly that was the only family member that I could actually see."
WATCH: Strictly's Oti Mabuse shows off rare wedding picture
The professional dancer resides in the UK with her husband Marius Iepure, while the Strictly judge lives in Germany with her husband Evgenij Voznyuk and their young daughter.
Oti, 30, also touched upon missing her family back home in South Africa. "I haven't seen my family in about two years because they're from South Africa and it's currently not great in South Africa as well," she added.
"So to have Strictly is another thing that I'm grateful for, even though we were in separate bubbles it was nice that I could actually see her and she was there."
Oti with her sisters Motsi and Phemelo
Despite not being able to see her loved ones in person, Oti is thankful for virtual reunions. "There's opportunity to make new connections, to bond. I know during the first lockdown we started Zooming weekly with the extended family, so first second and third cousins," she explained.
"Everyone got to know each other, all the children. Christmas was also spent on Zoom, it was the entire family so it gave us the opportunity to make more connections and deeper ones."
Technology has allowed Oti to also connect with her fans over the past year, leading online dance classes with her husband. "Honestly I haven't done a lot of exercise so doing these dances helps me to do exercise," she explained. "It's about doing things that make you feel good in lockdown whether that's dancing or projects, it’s really important whenever we are at home to do something you love."
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