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Exclusive: Strictly's James and Ola Jordan on why they're dancing into a 'heartbreaking' Christmas

The former Strictly couple will return to the ballroom for ITV's The Full Monty

james ola jordan strictly christmas
Georgia Brown
Senior Lifestyle & Fashion Writer
December 13, 2021
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Strictly Come Dancing stars Ola and James Jordan have once again opened their hearts to HELLO!, sharing the heartbreaking details of their first Christmas since losing James' father and how they'll be navigating their grief over the festive period.

READ: Ola & James Jordan's Strictly semi-final verdict: Why Rose Ayling-Ellis is in a league of her own

"I consider myself as quite a mentally stable, strong person, but losing my dad absolutely knocked me for six," explained James, who admitted all their focus will be on their daughter Ella to help get them through the difficult period. "We had a couple of months where I was not good. I definitely wasn't coping," explained James, who sadly lost his dad Alan to cancer back in March.

WATCH: James and Ola Jordan play 'Mummy or Daddy' with Ella

It's been over five years since we saw Ola and James dance together after the couple exchanged their Strictly dancing shoes for parenthood. Yet fans will be delighted to learn the dancing duo will return to the ballroom for Strictly: The Real Full Monty on Tuesday 14 December, in tribute to James' dad.

"We're lucky we're there for each other," Ola continued, telling how her husband found it cathartic returning to Blackpool where his father last watched the couple dance together. "It was almost like therapy for James," she said.

Here, the pair talk candidly about their grief journey, reveal how baby Ella has been a '"blessing" and unveil their plans for a second child after a difficult IVF journey the first time around. Read our exclusive Q&A with Ola and James below...

MORE: 8 Strictly dancer dads cuddling their cute babies – see photos

RELATED: The Strictly Come Dancing couples who survived the so-called curse

Here, the pair talk candidly about their grief journey, reveal how baby Ella has been a '"blessing" and unveil their plans for a second child after a difficult IVF journey the first time around. Read our exclusive Q&A with Ola and James below...

What was it like to be able to do The Full Monty together after a difficult year?

James: When you listen to other people's stories, it doesn't necessarily make yours feel any easier, it just makes you realise you're not alone. It was reassuring to learn that other people understood what I had been through. When you're going through it yourself, you do feel like the only person in the world, so doing The Full Monty and listening to stories of how other people deal with things and how they navigate their grief was inspiring."

Ola: It was so nice for me to take part with James and dance with him again. It was really nostalgic to be back dancing in Blackpool. We've been dancing there for years and did hundreds of competitions there, so it felt very special.

james ola jordan pose window

James and Ola are looking forward to Christmas with little Ella

James: Particularly because my dad made sure he was at every single one of those competitions. Every single one. There were so many moments taking part in The Full Monty that brought back so many memories. When we were doing rehearsals, I thought to myself: 'This is the place where I first saw Ola. This is the exact place we first met.'

James, the Full Monty was an incredibly emotional journey for you. Are you grateful you had Ola alongside you to experience it?

James: Honestly, it wouldn't have been the same without her. I've danced with Ola since she was 17 years old and I was 21 and potentially, that could be the very last time we ever dance with each other on TV. I couldn't have done it without her."

What was your first reaction to stripping off during The Full Monty, Ola?

Ola: I was so self-conscious because I haven't quite lost my baby weight and your body changes when you become a mother! The last thing I wanted to do was get into a skimpy costume, let alone take everything off. So yeah, I wasn't really keen on it. And then James convinced me. I'm glad I agreed because I just thought, what could be worse?

Taking off my clothes is really not a big deal compared to what some people have to go through with their health, and if I help save someone's life by taking part in the programme, then that's amazing. So I'm actually glad I did it.

james jordan ola christmas shoot

The former Strictly duo can't wait to start new traditions with Ella

Ella even had a little trip to Blackpool which was so special for us as parents to take her back to the place we fell in love.

It's your second Christmas with Ella. How are you going to spend it as a family?

James: Christmas this year is going to be especially difficult. I think it will be different because it's the first Christmas without my dad. Normally we'll all be at my mum and dad's, but this year I don't think my mum wants to be at home doing Christmas dinner by herself. So we're all going to a local restaurant near them for Christmas dinner instead. Which we would never normally do, we'd normally always do Christmas at home.

DISCOVER: Strictly's Ola Jordan and James Jordan look unrecognisable in unseen wedding photos

Ola: I think instead we're just going to concentrate on Ella. It's her first Christmas where she'll start to enjoy opening presents and decorating the tree, things like that.

Will your parents be able to come over from Poland to see Ella, Ola?

James: Because of all the travel restrictions constantly changing I'm not sure if my parents feel comfortable travelling over. Because they are older they are vulnerable. They've got their own health issues to think about.#

So we're not sure it's sensible for them to be travelling and we're just going to play it by ear, so they could be another Christmas without Ola's mum and dad and obviously this year without my dad so, a tough one. But, on the positive, we're just going to make it about Ella.

Ola: It will probably be quite a quiet Christmas.

Have you started any new Christmas traditions now that you're a family?

James: Well the tradition in my family when I was young was that my parents would wrap up my sisters and my presents and they'd have one too many glasses of wine in the evening! And then when we opened our stocking, I'd be opening up dolls which were supposed to be for my sister.

james ola jordan ella steps

Christmas is an emotional time for the family

And she'd be opening up He-Man where they had put it in the wrong stocking because they'd had one too many brandies! Eventually, we will do the whole mince pie and the brandy for Father Christmas. When I was younger we used to leave a carrot for the reindeers - when Ella understands a bit more we'd love to do that with her.

And how about plans for the New Year? Have you got any resolutions you're determined to keep?

James: I stopped smoking. I still haven't smoked - it will be a year in January. That was a huge thing for me, because I had smoked my whole life. I don't vape or anything now, so I would like to make more of a conscious effort to be healthy," James said. "And I think you're pretty much the same, right Ola?

Ola: I think just being healthier is on the top of both of our priorities. We've got baby now and she needs us for many, many years to come. So we need to be healthy.

James: And eventually we'd like to have another baby, wouldn't we? So making our health a priority is for them as well, really.

Ella was such a blessing for you both, and you were so open about your IVF journey. At what point do you think you'll expand your family?

Ola: We would absolutely love to have more children, but honestly? I don't know if we can at this point.

james ola jordan kiss

The pair are taking part in Strictly: The Real Full Monty

James: Ola and I were lucky because we tried for three years, and then obviously went down the IVF route and it was successful the first time for us. So we know a lot of people that have tried many, many times, some people have been through IVF 8 or 10 times and not been successful. And it is a really tough thing to go through.

MORE: James Jordan posts gorgeous tribute to baby Ella – and wife Ola has the best response

Before we became parents we were told that once you have the first one, something clicks in the body and it's easier to fall pregnant again. But of course, it's not that easy for us, and that is a tough reality. We're keeping our fingers crossed that one day we'll be expecting again.

Ola: Ella was a blessing for us, she's amazing. Everything about parenthood is so special. It's definitely hard though!

James: It is hard, but it would be nice to have two babies!

See the full photoshoot with James and Ola in this week's HELLO! magazine, out now

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