Shirley Ballas on finding romance with actor Daniel and why, aged 59, she's having the time of her life....
Strictly judge Shirley Ballas says she’s the happiest she’s ever been and it’s down to her new romance with actor Daniel Taylor.
The 59-year-old said: “I have to get up every day and pinch myself because I have such a remarkable boyfriend and I never thought I’d ever meet someone like that in my entire life. This has been the best year of my life ever, other than giving birth to my son.”
The couple first met when co-starring together in panto last Christmas and love quickly blossomed between champion ballroom dancer Shirley and 44-year-old Daniel, who has enjoyed an extensive career on stage and starred in TV series, The Bill and former soap, Brookside.
Twice-married Shirley, who has a 33-year-old son Mark, and divorced her second husband Corky Ballas in 2007, has previously made no secret of her desire to find love again.
Talking last year when hosting a new segment on This Morning called Matchmaker Island, she said: “Over the last three years I’ve not been in a great position to want to date. But after doing this and after Strictly it’s re-kindled my feeling of wanting to meet someone nice.”
Shirley continued: “Many over 50s get in a comfort zone, they don’t want to bother with dating. What I’ve learnt is, it’s worth bothering!”
She also said she’s learnt not to be so hard on herself. Talking about the ageing process she said: “Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see these wrinkles and you tend to judge yourself a little bit. But inside your heart and your mind is still the same.
“What I’ve learned is that I’m a full book, I come with all sorts of funny stories and tales and ups and downs and I’ve lived life to the full. You should never judge people by the way they look.”
She also credited Strictly and a compliment from TV’s Eamonn Holmes, whose wife Ruth Langsford was a competitor on the show in 2017, with boosting her confidence. She said, “Eamonn came up to me and said, ‘I just want you to know you’re doing a marvellous job and you look amazing.’ I carried that with me for the rest of the show!”
Talking about the pairings on this year’s Strictly she said they were the most unpredictable ever.
“Normally you can judge by height or sometimes personality, but you couldn’t this time. Bubbly sports presenter Mike Bushell was jumping around all over the place like a little bean and then they put him with Katya Jones, this super- disciplined Russian lady! It was thrilling to see such a change – they certainly haven’t gone with predictability this year.”
Strictly Come Dancing, Saturday, BBC1, 7pm
Main picture: Photo by Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images