'Two years ago I wasn’t in a great place': Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas opens up about battle with anxiety

Natasha Sporn
Brave: Shirley Ballas has opened up about her battle with anxiety: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has opened up about her battle with anxiety, saying she wasn't "in a great place" two years ago.

The Queen of Latin revealed her struggle with her mental health in a candid interview, detailing how anxiety racked the start of her reign on the popular BBC show.

Ballas, who replaced Len Goodman as Head Judge, told Top Sante magazine: “I’ve had anxiety in the past and two years ago I wasn’t in a great place.

“Without a stable mind, it’s difficult for anything else to function.”

Opening up: Shirley Ballas, who joined the show last year, has talked about how anxiety racked her Strictly start (PA)

The 57-year-old continued: “I meditate and take time for controlled breathing, this was especially useful when I started Strictly, I was as nervous as the celebrities.”

Ballas also reiterated how important talking about mental health is and spoke about losing her brother David to suicide in 2003 when he was just 44.

She added: “People get embarrassed about admitting they feel low but you can't help the way you feel.”

The mother-of-one joined Loose Women last year to chat about her late brother and spoke bravely about the death of her sibling.

Ballas explained: “He had this six weeks of being really down, not really feeling up to himself. It was one day when my son was singing in St Paul's Church. I spoke to David on the phone. My mother, I love her to death, but it's not an over-communicative family.

“I don't think I ever really understood to the great extent how sick he was. I don't think my mum did either. She came to watch Mark at the church singing, and it was that particular day he chose to take his life.”

Along with her son Mark, who is a dancer on Dancing With The Stars in America, Ballas has a charity foundation called The Ballas Foundation focused on suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

For confidential support on mental health call the Samaritans on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or attend a local Samaritans branch.