SHIRLEY BALLAS has revealed she will not marry boyfriend Danny Taylor, saying of their “unconventional” relationship: “I’m happy with the way it is.”
The Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 63, met actor Danny, 50, in panto – and they have been together for five years.
She said: “I think Danny and I have a very good relationship and he is by far the nicest and kindest man I have met.
“But we were at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh last year and we were all ready to go, and then he didn’t seem ready.”
“I didn’t have a good feeling about it and thought, ‘Nah, that’s not for me.’ It’s nice when I can come and go.
“Danny is always busy, as am I, and has a 13-year-old son.
“I think the last time I saw him was in August when he accompanied me on my week-long Skyathlon challenge for mental health charity CALM – so it was a long time ago.
“We have a unique, unconventional relationship. It’s based on trust.”
“I don’t want anyone else and as far as I know he doesn’t want anyone else and we talk on FaceTime most days.
“It is what it is and I’m happy with it the way it is.
“My best friend says when Danny and I are together I light up like a lightbulb.
“We had a lovely holiday at the start of the year and the time we have is precious and focused on both of us.
“There’s no point in being at each other’s feet if you don’t have time for each other. At our age it works.”
Two years ago Shirley joked with us that she liked Horlicks and Nookie.
Now she giggles: “I prefer the dark drinking chocolate, with a bit of trot, trot, trot!” I’m 63, but not dead.”
She is delighted to be reunited with fellow BBC One Strictly panelists Craig Revel Horwood, 58, Motsi Mabuse, 42, and Anton Du Beke, 57.
And she’s already been blown away by the talent of this year’s celebrities – particularly 78-year-old Angela Rippon’s high kicks, which have inspired her to show some leg herself.
She said: “I felt really good coming into this series. I organized myself with a great team around me.
“I always think I’m too old, but when Angela Rippon came and danced and wore her legs in a short dress, I thought, ‘Look at this lady’s legs, she looks absolutely fantastic’.”
“She came out, a lady in her late seventies, and she has this beautiful, balanced leg that ends up touching her nose. I was so jealous.
“Angela – show me how it works! I’ve never had an extension like that in my life.”
“Then I came here today and there were a lot of short dresses and I put them on and thought, ‘Well, if Angela Rippon can do it, so can I.'”
Having performed on tour with fellow judge Anton, Shirley is also confident bosses will give them more dances on the show.
She said: “Anton is like a cuddly bunny. My chemistry with Anton goes back 35 years and he hasn’t changed one iota.
“He is polite, has good manners, he gives advice where he needs it, he is very caring.
“He has a cheeky sense of humor and I love him. He’s one in a million.
“I had the privilege of going on tour with him and he stole my big underpants, put them in the top pocket of his jacket, threw them out and said, ‘Look, I have Shirley’s underpants.'”
Although Shirley says she doesn’t care about Strictly’s legendary “curse” or the romances that blossom on the show, she has enjoyed seeing families grow through the show.
She explained: “I am not interested in the love lives of the celebrities on the show.
“But then I look at Kevin Clifton, who is a very dear friend, and see how happy he is with Stacey Dooley and her family.
“And Gorka Marquez and his beautiful partner Gemma Atkinson and their two children.
“And I think, ‘Wow, if it wasn’t for the show, they never would have met.’ Good for you.”
Shirley’s own family is also growing, with her son Mark – a professional dancer who won the US version of Strictly last year – expecting a baby with his wife BC Jean in LA, where they live.
Laughing, Shirley said, “My name will be Glam-ma.
I always think I’m too old, but when Angela Rippon came and danced wearing her legs in a short dress, I thought, “Look at this lady’s legs, she looks absolutely amazing.”
“The baby is due in a month.
“If it comes during the Strictly live show there will be a live announcement.”
Despite her huge success in the dance world, which her trainer sees between filming, Shirley is set to publish her first novel – the sexy crime thriller ‘Murder On The Dance Floor’ – on October 12th.
She said: “My book contains a lot of sex, lies, bed hopping and shocking stories from the dance world – all of which I had to leave out of my autobiography.
“It’s scorching hot. Danny hasn’t read it yet, but I expect he’ll be shocked by the sex scenes.
“We have already met with several TV companies who want to turn this into a six-part series.”
Despite her busy schedule, there is one surprising TV show Shirley would like to try out – Channel 4’s Celeb SAS: Who Dares Wins.
Read more on the Irish Sun
She added: “They’ve never had a 63-year-old before, I could be the next candidate.
“I’m a bit of a daredevil. I could overcome these challenges!”
“I can do a rippin too,” says Zara
ZARA McDERMOTT has vowed to give Angela Rippon a run for her money when it comes to big dance moves like the splits.
Last night, the 26-year-old documentary filmmaker performed the quickstep to “Anyone For You (Tiger Lily)” by George Ezra with partner Graziano Di Prima, 29.
But when asked if she would show more flexibility in the BBC competition, Zara teased: “Angela and I are taking part in a splits competition. She is unbelievable.”
This comes after former newsreader Angela received a standing ovation from the judges in week one for her “stunning” high kick during the Cha Cha with 28-year-old pro Kai Widdrington.
Zara, the first former Love Island contestant to appear on Strictly, also revealed she is “not ashamed” of her reality show past after finding fame on the dating series in 2018.
Speaking about paving the way for future Love Island stars to compete for the Glitterball, she said: “I don’t think there’s necessarily a ban or anything like that for Love Island contestants or reality contestants gave.
“I just think it depends on who’s right for the show and I don’t see myself as just being on Love Island – I did that when I was 21 but I’m 26 now.”
“Over the last four years I’ve worked so hard to make the documentaries that I do and that has a lot to do with why I’m on the show now.
“Because of the work I did in addition to Love Island – and not just because of that.”
Katya, do your hard work
KATYA JONES kept her celebrity partner Nigel Harman, 50, under control on last night’s show.
The 34-year-old Russian professional tenderly wiped a piece of fuzz from the actor’s face as the couple chatted with host Claudia Winkleman after the Viennese waltz.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood told Nigel: “You’re a fantastic dancer, you draw people into the dance, people will vote for it.”
“I say well done.”
They received an overall score of 27 out of 40 from the jury.