Shirley Ballas addresses her future on Strictly Come Dancing: ‘The abuse impacted me in such a negative way’

Ballas did not rule out the possibility she may exit the series

Annabel Nugent
Monday 27 March 2023 06:58 BST
Shirley Ballas responds after Strictly audience member heckles her

Shirley Ballas has hinted that that she may consider leaving Strictly Come Dancing due to the “truly awful” messages she receives from trolls online.

Ballas has been a fixture on the BBC dancing competition since 2017, having been brought on to replace Len Goodman as head judge.

In a recent interview, the 62-year-old said that she reached an “all-time low” during last year’s season due to trolls.

“Last year, I was struggling,” she told The Mirror. “It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence.”

Ballas continued: “I felt the abuse snowballed out of control and impacted me in such a negative way. I’m a pretty stoic person, and I tend to hold everything in.”

She said it was the most negativity she has “ever experienced”. Ballas did, however, commend the “brilliant” BBC for checking in on her reguarly and offering support and counselling.

Asked whether the online abuse would ever cause Ballas to quit Strictly, she said: “It was a difficult series, I’ll leave it at that.”

She continued: “Will I go back to Strictly? I always take one step at a time.”

Shirley Ballas showed off her new facelift on Loose Women (ITV/Loose Women)

Ballas did, however, emphasise that she “absolutely loves” her role as judge on the programme, calling it “rewarding”.

Earlier this month, her son Mark Ballas – also a professional dancer – quit his position on Dancing With the Stars US after 20 seasons. In 2022, Ballas won the 31st season with his partner Charli D’Amelio.

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“I’ve done 20 seasons now,” he told an audience, including his mother and father, in Las Vegas. “I started this journey when I was 21, 22 and honestly being able to dance and perform for you fans – you guys are the best fans.”

Mark, 36, continued: “I just want to finish by saying, this will be the last time you see me dance in this capacity. I’m coming to a close tonight. This is going to be my last dance.”

Ballas told Metro that she “couldn’t be prouder” of her son, adding that “his body of work on DWTS this past year was nothing short of brilliant”.

In December, Hamza Yassin and professional partner Jowita Przystal won the 2022 Strictly series.

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