Ice Network

Bobek exchanges vows with fellow circus performer

Former U.S. champion, husband celebrate nuptials with 'intimate' affair
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Nicole Bobek and husband Pedro Santos Leal take a break from their wedding reception to go on a walk with their dog. -courtesy of Nicole Bobek

Nicole Bobek has worn her share of sparkly costumes, but for her Jan. 24 wedding to Pedro Santos Leal, she opted for a beautiful, unadorned white dress that she found at Saks Fifth Avenue.

The couple was wed at a Florida courthouse with only their parents and the groom's twin brother in attendance. The following day, they hosted a luncheon for friends and family.

"I'm super happy, ridiculously happy," Bobek said.

Bobek met Leal, a veteran circus performer, about three years ago through mutual friends, while she was studying circus arts at the South Florida Circus Art School of the Rainbow Circus Miami and doing some performing. The two clicked immediately, but neither was in a hurry to pick a wedding date.

"We're always so busy touring," said Bobek, who accompanies Leal on his circus tours. "We did Denmark for six months, England for six months and Norway for six months, and a few shows in between.

"We wanted to do something small (for the wedding) because we knew we couldn't get all of our friends from Europe and all around the world to be there," she added. "We decided to do something intimate and small. It's not about having some big, crazy, elaborate wedding. I think a lot of people were expecting that from me, but I'm not that way anymore.

"It was chic, simple and just right. It was beautiful."

Among the guests were some of her friends from Rainbow Circus Miami; Leal's family; Bobek's mother, Jana, and her husband, Dr. William Whatmore; and a few other friends. The only people from the skating world in attendance were Jennifer Davidson Kane and Jason Kane.

Bobek and Leal exchanged plain gold bands with their fingerprints, names and wedding date inscribed. For their ceremony, they went with basic vows, and at the reception they repeated their vows -- with a bit of a humorous twist provided by Bobek's stepfather -- for their guests. A friend who is a saxophone player provided the entertainment.

"I wasn't a bridezilla," Bobek said. "Pedro and I were so low-key, calm and collected. I think the base of our relationship is we both come from being performers. We can relate so well to each other."

After a brief honeymoon at a Florida resort, Leal headed off to Europe to start a new circus tour. He toured with Cirque du Soleil's Varekai for 11 years and now performs a traditional clown routine with his twin brother and their father in Circus Pinder, a traditional old school touring circus that travels caravan style. Bobek is staying in Florida to take care of the home before joining him on the road in France for a nine-month tour.

Skating is on hold for now. Her last gig was Nancy Kerrigan's 2015 Halloween on Ice tour, where she did a number incorporating her aerial hoop work. She said she thoroughly enjoyed that experience and would take on another skating opportunity, if given the chance.

"I will never hang up the skates, so to speak," she said.

While life with the circus isn't luxurious, it is always an adventure, Bobek says. She appreciates the work ethic and artistic passion that circus performers have.

"Every tour is different," she said. "Once you get on the rhythm of that tour, then you're fine.

"I'm in the fiercest place in my life that I've ever been," she added. "It's such a gift. The journey has brought me to incredible new places."