Always up for an adventure, Julianne Hough proved she took part in a dangerous gorilla trek with her husband, Brooks Laich, in a series of recent Instagram posts.
The pair took on the exotic beasts in faraway Uganda while accompanied by the Bucket List Family — also known as the Gees, a five-member clan of Utah-based travel journalists.
While the three Gee kids stayed behind for this part of the outing, the brave group of adult explorers accompanied a knowledgeable guide to search for silverback gorillas. To get total insight into when and how this happened, tune into the nearly 19-minute YouTube video below. Set to Phil Collins’ emotional song, “You’ll Be In My Heart,” from the 1999 animated Tarzan movie, the video traces the excursion from beginning to end.
While some fans may find it surprising that the Dancing with the Stars pro dancer and America’s Got Talent judge was willing to take on such a dangerous encounter, Julianne — who goes by the nickname Jules — has had a life-long love of primates.
“I’ve wanted a monkey since I was 5 years old,” the 30-year-old Hough declared in a throwback story from 2012 about her movie, Rock of Ages.
The film, featuring Tom Cruise in the lead role, co-starred a baboon as Tom’s character’s sidekick. Hough shared her initial encounter with the big brute with The Boot.
“The baboon was probably bigger or scarier than I expected it to be, especially when it got loose and the trainers were like ‘Don’t anybody move!’ Everybody froze. We were too afraid to move and then they lured in [the wild animal] with paella and everything was fine.”
Jules added more to her movie set story. The reason everyone “was standing as still as possible” was because nobody wanted “to get mauled by a baboon,” she stated in an article published by HuffPost.
Hough’s more recent run-in with a primate was potentially more dangerous than the one with the Rock of Ages baboon. In order to take on this happening, her group flew into Rwanda from the United States before crossing the border into Uganda for the gorilla trek.
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Words can’t even describe this experience! So incredibly humbling to be so close to this amazing animal, and for him to completely trust us and let us into his home. So nerve racking but SO beautiful. Swipe ???????? to watch me feel all the feels during this overwhelming experience!
On the way between the two countries to take up their quest, Jules, her fellow safari-takers, and their guide had to literally sprint from Rwanda over the border to Uganda. The party of five moved fast so they didn’t miss their domestic flight that would get them near enough to hike into the space where the silverback gorillas reside.
Finally in place to take the trek. Hough was exhilarated but also racked with nerves. When she hit the bush with her group, silence was key so that the gorilla family who lived nearby could have time to decide if these onlookers were friends or foe.
Apparently, the party passed the friend test because the American visitors were able to witness the mom and her two youngsters within close proximity in the wild. Later, their big daddy showed up to forage for food.
All four trekkers were in awe as the giant primate went about his business. Jules called the experience, which had her shedding tears of happiness, “humbling.” She was completely gobsmacked that this 400-pound beast was able to “completely trust” the group while allowing them “into his home.”
And so, as Julianne and Brooks — along with hosts Karen and Jarrett Gee — met the gorilla of their dreams, the big guy upstaged them all as he photobombed the perfect picture of the safari trekkers during their indescribable time in the Uganda bush.