Shirley Ballas hints at Strictly Come Dancing exit

Shirley Ballas may not return to Strictly Come Dancing credit:Bang Showbiz
Shirley Ballas may not return to Strictly Come Dancing credit:Bang Showbiz

Shirley Ballas has hinted she may not return to 'Strictly Come Dancing' because she's sick of being trolled.

The 62-year-old judge admitted she reached an "all-time low" last year because the online abuse she received over her decisions on the programme left her "crying and emotional", and she has yet to sign a contract to return to the celebrity Latin and ballroom contest.

She told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: “Last year I was struggling. It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot – the majority of it was in silence.

“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.”

Asked if she has considered quitting the show, she replied: “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 well-being.

“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.”

With one in five messages Shirley received last year being hate-filled, the dance expert has vowed to put measures in place to shield her from the cruel comments if she does return to the programme.

She said: "If I am back on 'Strictly' this year, I am going to have someone filtering my social media, so I don’t see every comment. I will also try not to take things so personally as I’ve realised that I’m not alone when it comes to online trolling. I’ll say to myself, ‘Come on Shirley, you’re not the only one’.

“As they say, if the kitchen’s too hot, get out. But if it’s not, tie on the apron, do up your hair and get on with it.”

And Shirley seemingly ruled out crossing the pond to judge 'Dancing with the Stars', on which her son Mark Ballas is one of the professional dancers.

Asked if she could find a role on the US show, she said: “Who knows what the future holds?

“My beautiful son Mark was crowned winner of the last series with his partner Charlie D’Amelio and I have trained many of the pro dancers.

“But my heart and loyalty lie with the BBC, for sure. They gave me my TV break and have always been there for me.”