Len Goodman shocked many “Dancing With the Stars” fans during the show’s finale when the 70-year-old said that this might have been his last night as a judge on the show. Even though Goodman emphasized that he had not made his final decision yet, as reported by WetPaint on May 22, this is not the first time that the “Dancing With the Stars” judge has spoken about potentially leaving the show.
In an interview last November, Goodman already discussed the fact that his days as "DWTS" judge might be numbered. According to a British Mirror report, the demanding schedule of flying out of London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday and returning back to his home country by Wednesday is taking its toll on the 70-year-old judge’s life. Even though the 11-hour plane ride to Los Angeles is rather “boring” and not strenuous in itself, Goodman said in the interview that “it's tiring because of the time difference.”
Len Goodman, who was born on April 25, 1944, married Sue Barrett (his companion of more than ten years) on Dec. 30, 2012. In addition to his wife, the DWTS judge has his son James William Goodman back home. As of 2012, James teaches Latin and ballroom dancing at his father's Goodman Dance Centre in Dartford, Kent. As a professional ballroom dancer, dance teacher, and judge on the British “Strictly Come Dancing” and the American “Dancing With the Stars.”
“Strictly Come Dancing” has been a part of Goodman’s life since the show began on BBC on May 15, 2004. “Dancing With the Stars” followed on ABC in the United States in 2005. While both shows are dear to Goodman, in his interview he said that he was “determined to put his health first so he can continue with Strictly for years to come.” “I would never retire from the BBC or Strictly by choice. If I got ill and couldn't go on it, of course I would have to retire - but I'd have to be pretty ill. They will have to drag me kicking and screaming."
In 2009, the then 65-year-old dance expert admitted that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in March. Fortunately, the disease was caught early and after surgery, four days in the hospital and several weeks of recuperation, he said that he felt “right as rain.” Despite his cancer scare, Goodman continued his lead judge role on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and kept it hidden from his colleagues and his fans. "I was obviously worried at the start. We all worry if we get something like this. [It was] not necessary to blabber it out to everyone," he said back then.
After Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy performed their last dance (the Foxtrot/Cha-Cha Fusion) during the finale, Goodman shared more than his fans or colleagues had been prepared for. “Season 18 has been like a novel. Full of twists and turns, and we’ve come here to the last page and we’re sure not sure how the story will end. For one, it’ll be a happy ending, and I’m not saying this is true, but this might be my last season, and if it is I couldn’t wish for a better dance to finish up with. You are great.”
Goodman’s announcement of a potential retirement from “Dancing With the Stars,” resulted not only in a stunned reaction by the audience and viewers but also by host Tom Bergeron who looked at Goodman and said, “We’re going to talk mister, we’re having a little talk after Bruno.” Bruno Tonioli, who shares the commute from England to the U.S. with Goodman and who, like Goodman, feels two months of jet lag after the frequent commute, has reportedly said in the past “that he wouldn't be able to continue with the commute if his pal was to quit.”