Ola Jordan says it’s a ‘difficult and sad time’ on her first Mother’s Day with baby Ella after James’ ‘hero’ dad dies

THERE was nothing James and Ola Jordan wanted more than to become parents after a three-year battle to have a baby.

But after welcoming their "miracle" IVF daughter, the Strictly stars’ world was turned upside down when James' dad Allan, 68, was given just months to live.

He died from an aggressive brain tumour on Saturday, just hours after Ola told The Sun all about the toughest year of their lives.

But the 38-year-old has remained positive throughout, refusing to complain about her family's troubles – despite giving birth weeks before a national lockdown.

She's been raising baby Ella without her parents – who have been forced to watch their grandchild grow up over FaceTime from Poland.

And she's been a "shoulder to cry on" for James who has been rocked by his dad's shock death.

In an exclusive interview on her first Mother’s Day, TV dancer Ola said: "Seeing a really healthy man deteriorate so much in a year has been shocking.

"James is really struggling because he's very close to his dad.

"It's been very emotional, but I've just got to be strong for him because I have a baby to look after.

"All I can do is be a shoulder to cry on right now.

"It's a very difficult and sad time."

Shortly after Ola and James' daughter Ella was born in February, Allan was rushed to hospital three times after suffering strokes.

Then in July, 42-year-old James was dealt the devastating blow that he was terminal.

It was James' worst nightmare come true when his "hero" dad took his final breaths – but he had prayed for death to "come soon" to end his painful struggle.

Four days after being sent home from hospital, he revealed he "became an angel".

Dancing on Ice star James last week said: "No one should have to go through what my family are watching my dad go through.

"I pray to God that you come soon and make him one of your angels.

"He has his bags packed and is ready to go and see his mum and dad again."

And on Saturday he told fans: "My dad became an angel at 8.05am.

"I will forever miss him. My dad will always be my hero.

"RIP daddy."

Ola and James were favourites on Strictly for nearly a decade, with Ola winning the Glitterball trophy in 2009 with sports presenter Chris Hollins.

The world champion dancers have been together for more than 20 years, marrying in 2003, but put off having kids as their careers soared.

After trying to fall pregnant for three years, they welcomed baby Ella after a successful first round of IVF.

Like many lockdown babies, the little girl – who turned one in February – hasn't met another baby to play with.

She's now starting to obsess over watching other children on TV.

Ola says: "We definitely did the right thing having Ella older.

"We can look back knowing we travelled the world, had a lot of fun partying and did all the jobs we wanted to do. Now it's amazing being at home with this little person we longed for.

"I love her to bits – she's the best thing that ever happened to me."

Ola hopes that this was the last Mother's Day she has to spend apart from her own mum, Janina.

She says: "It's unbelievable to think my mum and dad haven't met my baby girl.

"It was my hope that my mum would be there to help give me tips with my first baby.

"We talk on the phone – and thank God we have Facetime – but not being able to have my parents around me when you have a little baby is really quite tough.

"I never, ever thought something like this would happen.

"My dad gets upset every time he sees her over the phone. He sobs 'when am I going to hold her?'

"It's scary to think that by the time they meet her she'll be running towards them."

As new parents, the pressures of a pandemic amid a family tragedy could easily have burst the bubble of their happy marriage.

But Ola and James remain one of TV's strongest couples – and the secret, says Ola, is "having a sense of humour".

"We're strong as a couple and always there for each other," Ola said.

"Whoever is going through a tough time, like James is now with his dad, I'm there for him as much as I can be.

"The secret is having a sense of humour – and taking the p*** out of each other a lot.

"We're always joking. He'll pick on me and I'll pick on him. It's about not taking ourselves too seriously.

"People judge his character on TV and on social media, but they don't see how he is at home.

"James is a real softie with a really good heart. He's wonderful with Ella, such a good dad."

Ola added: "We've been together for a long time – we know each other inside out, and what makes each other tick.

"We're always honest, we know where we stand and there's no hiding secrets.

"And although we're opposites, it feels like we've merged into the same person."

But Ola admits she'll be glad when golf-obsessed James can be back out on the fairway.

"Don't get me wrong I'll be glad when the golf courses open," laughs Ola.
"I'm more excited than James, I think.

"If anyone tells you they don't argue with their partner, they're lying.

"For us, we don't argue massively, but we bicker. Afterwards we just forget about it and move on.

"I do love him to bits, but always enjoy when he goes out for a couple of hours!

"We all need our space, don't we?"

The couple's passionate relationship once saw them romp in their Strictly dressing room – while legendary host Bruce Forsyth was next door.

Since becoming parents however, Ola admits they're not as romantic as they once were, as they struggle to find alone time for hot date nights.

But one positive out of being a new mum in lockdown is being free of the pressure to lose baby weight, laughs Ola.

"I put on a lot of weight with Ella because I relaxed and didn't want to be strict with my diet," she says.

"It took me a year to lose it, but I didn't put any pressure on myself.

"Maybe if I was younger I might have been nervous or stressed about snapping back into shape, but I'm more relaxed now.

"I'm not going to look like I was when I was 20. Things change and my body won't ever be the same again.

"But I am happy with the way things are now.

"I'm not going to be on Strictly with a skimpy costume on so it doesn't worry me anymore."

Although there's always another lucrative job offer for reality TV around the corner for Ola and James, they have undoubtedly thrown themselves into family life.

And if the past 12 months have taught them anything – it's to hold on to your loved ones tightly.

"Family is the most important thing," she says.

"When you see your parents get very ill, it makes you look at your own life. We have a baby to think about now, to make sure our baby is OK.

"We would love to have more children, but unfortunately this is not the right time for us.

"And we're not sure if it will happen again as we were very lucky to get pregnant with our first IVF."

She added: "But with everything that's happened with James' dad, it's a reminder how very fortunate we are."

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