The effervescent Italian had appeared as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing since its debut in 2004, but was finding it increasingly difficult to juggle making shows on either side of the Atlantic and how now shared the toll it was taking on his health.
In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail, Tonioli revealed he “just couldn’t fly any more.”
He added that there was no animosity over his decision to stay with Dancing with the Stars, saying:
“There is no animosity, it was a mutual decision with both of us saying, ‘Listen, this is not going to work like it used to.’
“I just couldn’t do the flying any more. I don’t know how I survived that schedule. To be honest, it’s a miracle.”
Tonioli was frank about the physical cost he started to feel towards the end of his run on Strictly.
He said, “There was a moment in the middle of a run when I blanked.
“I did not know where I was or what I was doing.
“It only lasted a second, then I saw the audience looking at me and it all came back to me.”
Tonioli’s role on the British judging panel has been taken by Anton du Beke, a longtime dancer on the show. He first stepped in when lockdown prevented Tonioli returning from the US, and his full-time job has since been confirmed. The UK show will return in September.