Shirley Ballas says she may never return to Strictly after torrent of abuse from trolls

Shirley Ballas has revealed she is hesitant about returning to Strictly Come Dancing following abuse from trolls.

In an exclusive interview with The Mirror, the Strictly head judge, 62, revealed she was "struggling" with the outpouring of nasty messages she received during the most recent series of the BBC show.

"Last year I was struggling. It wasn't just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence," she said.

"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.

"When it all kicked off, it seemed like it was larger than anything else.

"I was crying, I was emotional, but I was embarrassed about being so emotional. I didn't want to talk to anybody about it.

"And that was an all-time low since I joined the show – it was the most negativity I'd ever experienced. The BBC were brilliant, checking in on me and offering counselling and support."

Shirley joined the show in 2017, replacing Len Goodman as head judge.

However, it is up in the air whether the former professional dancer will return to the panel in 2023.

When asked if she's considered quitting the show, she answered: "It was a difficult series. I'll leave it at that.

"After the Strictly tour I decided to take a break from TV and re-focus on my own industry for a while, to protect my sanity. I'm fortunate I have two jobs, running parallel, so it was much easier to take a break from TV and look after myself and my wellbeing.

"Will I go back to Strictly? I always take one step at a time.

"I absolutely love the job. If it was just that, and there was nothing else surrounding it, I can't think of a more rewarding job to do."

In November, Shirley revealed that relentless trolling about her judging on Strictly left her so fragile she booked three weeks off to tend to her mental health.

In an interview with Notebook, she said: “I’ve been trained from a very young age that you just get on with it, no matter how you’re feeling, but lately I’ve had a few cracks in that smile.

"I’m not always managing and I’m questioning myself.

“My boyfriend Danny even said that he’d noticed a difference in my mental health and emotional state. He said, ‘I think you’re ready for a break.’ I’m taking three weeks off at Christmas. I need to take care of myself a little bit more.”

Shirley has previously spoken about the effect trolls have had on her while appearing on Strictly's judging panel, and recently admitted she was weighing up a move to America.


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