Shirley Ballas nearly quit Strictly after vile trolls said ‘unkind things’ about her

Strictly Come Dancing star Shirley Ballas, 61, says she almost quit the show after she struggled to deal with the scrutiny she faced after replacing Len Goodman as head judge in 2017.

Prior to Strictly, Shirley was a professional ballroom dancer and coach, but had no TV experience.

After taking up the judging seat for Strictly’s 15 th series, she says she struggled with the overnight fame and wave of attention that came from the BBC One show.

Shirley Ballas says she nearly quit Strictly after hearing ‘unkind things’ about herself.

Speaking to the Sun, Shirley said: “The mainstream fame which is handed to you by shows like Strictly has been quite hard to deal with.

“You have to be resilient when people start writing or saying unkind things about you.”

She says the stress of fame was so overwhelming she sought her mother’s advice as to whether it was wise for her to return for a second series.

Shirley has been Strictly’s head judge since 2017.
Dave Benett/Getty Images)

She continued: “When the producers asked me back for a second go, I asked my mother if she thought it was a good idea. It is invasive on your private life but, eventually, we decided it would be ok to do it again.”

The Queen of Latin says her biggest motivation to continue with the show was her determination to make a stand against bullying in the dancing industry.

Shirley says the stress of fame was so overwhelming she asked her mum whether it was wise to return for a second series.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

In a BBC interview in 2019, Shirley gave some examples of the vile online abuse she had faced since her stint on the show.

She said: “It’s ‘I hate you, die, go kill yourself’ those types of messages in my direct message box.”

She also revealed in her memoir, Behind the Sequins, that she once received a hand-delivered letter with a drawing of her digging her own grave and the message: “Do you realise how much you are hated? The country hates you. How did they ever give a job to someone like you, you old witch.”

Shirley said she was told to “kill herself” by vile trolls.
Getty Images)

Now, she is on her fifth series as head judge on the Strictly panel and remains a fan-favourite on the show.

You can watch Shirley and the rest of the judging panel on Strictly Come Dancing : The Results tonight at 7.05pm on BBC One.

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