Shirley Ballas admits she almost quit Strictly after being branded ‘ugly’ by cruel trolls – and insists her tough looks are ‘just a front’
Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has revealed the online trolling she faced became so bad she almost quit the BBC show.
The ballroom star joined the panel in 2017 after former head judge Len Goodman resigned from his position.
Last year, Shirley faced a barrage of online abuse, and although she normally puts on a tough front, the former dancer, 63, admitted it was ‘just a front’.
Speaking in an interview with The times, the star opened up about the kind of cruel messages she received, with some users even accusing her of being racist.
She explained that they were comments like, “Just, how ugly you are, and how fat you are, and how you have terrible arms, and,” “You don’t like men.” You don’t like women. You don’t like black men. You don’t like black women.”
Opening: Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas, 63, has revealed the online trolling she faced became so bad she almost quit the BBC show
Ordeal: Last year the dancer faced a barrage of online abuse, and although she normally acts tough, Shirley admitted it was ‘just a front’
Shirley revealed that the racist accusations in particular were the hardest to deal with and while she may come across as harsh on TV, it is just a front she is putting on.
‘That’s a front. Something I learned from my mother. ”Do not complain. Continue”.’
In April it was reported that following a stand-off with Strictly bosses, Shirley was offered a £55,000 pay rise after ‘having discussions’ about leaving the ballroom.
The judge says to earns almost £500,000 for her role in the show and has also decided to change her attitude this year.
She admitted she won’t be taking things so personally this year and has hired a new member of her team, Harry Surplus, who will be in charge of the star’s social media.
She explained that he will filter what she sees and moderate any offensive comments.
Last month, Shirley revealed she was forced to seek help after the abuse she suffered.
Ahead of her return to the show, she opened up about how she got through the abuse, admitting she “wouldn’t want it for anyone.”
Reluctant: In March earlier this year, Shirley hinted she may never return to Strictly Come Dancing after the barrage of abuse she received during the last series
In conversation with OK! magazine, she explained: ‘I’ve had gloomy and dark days all my life, but I’ve always had music and I’ve always danced. And of course I have my mother and we are glued at the hip.
‘What it (trolling) did to me in the last series, I wouldn’t want that for anyone.’
The star has been undergoing counseling for more than two decades.
Explaining her attitude towards it, she said: “I’m not ashamed to say that now, even though I was in the past, because I thought people would think I was weak.
‘But you know what? Sometimes counseling is just about having someone to listen to you. So there is nothing wrong with seeking help.’
Shirley’s brother, David, tragically took his own life in 2003 at the age of 44 and the star also revealed that a close friend also recently lost his life to suicide.