“I’ve had social media where people put me in a coffin that said ‘Die, you B—-‘. But then I got so bullied in my own line of work that, bad as it was, it was gut-wrenching.”
Despite the trolls’ attention — “though they judged me, I don’t judge them” — she has over four series of Strictgrew in confidence and self-esteem as the public took her into their hearts.
To the point where she’s not afraid to speak openly about having her breast implants removed. She said she had them used during her second marriage to American dancer Corky Ballas, her son’s father, to “make him love me more.” They divorced in 2007.
The decision to have surgery to have her removed in 2019, she recalls, began with her going for regular breast exams. Having had “multiple scars with bumps and bumps” over the years, she’s evangelical about staying up to date with scans and swabs.
“I know a lot of women who are now thinking they might feel a lump or something to worry about don’t want to overload the NHS because of Covid, but you need to get them checked. Don’t let cancer become the forgotten C!”
At that visit, the nurse who performed her mammogram casually mentioned how difficult it was to see behind her breast implants. “She was just sweet, but a penny dropped for me.”
It was a four-hour operation because she insisted that not only the implants be removed, but everything that had grown around them as well. “Because your body doesn’t recognize the implants,” she explains, “they’re surrounded by things that look like octopus tentacles. It’s disgusting.”
She doesn’t want to discourage people from such cosmetic procedures, she emphasizes: “I wouldn’t tell anyone what to do. But if you ever want to do anything with your body, I would say do some research on what it might mean in 20 or 30 years. I wish I had.”
Since the operation, she says, she hasn’t regretted a moment. “At 60, I love going out in nature, even if my boobs fall below my kneecaps. Whatever shape or size you are, you are beautiful. And I don’t want any foreign objects in my body.”
Also behind her decision was the discovery that cancer ran in her family for the first time in her 50s. First one of her mother’s sisters, Jean, died, and then another, Mona.
In a 2018 appearance on television’s genealogy show, Who do you Think You Are?She learned that cancer also ended her great-grandfather’s life.
Three years ago, at the age of 80, her mother, Audrey, was diagnosed with colon cancer. “My mother is my everything. I can’t imagine life without her. So I was completely devastated. At the same time, she is a very matter-of-fact person. She said to me, “I don’t want tears. I’ve had a great life. When I leave this earth tomorrow, I will not complain.”
Ballas is full of praise for the treatment her mother received from the NHS – “everything was absolutely first class” – but it was also where she first came across Macmillan Cancer Support, one of the NHS’s support organisations The Telegraph‘s ongoing Christmas fundraiser, which ends this week.
“The support they offer is just amazing. They are available seven days a week to speak to you on the phone to answer any questions or even if someone who has been through what my mother went through just wants to share things that are on their hearts, and not feeling able to talk to a friend. I think that they do their work not only for the sick but also for their families.”
Balla’s gratitude has seen her become a public face of the charity, right down to a coffee morning raising £10,000: “I even baked a cake.” And today, in her twice-weekly, free online dance classes, Rise and shine with Shirley B — which also stars “my beautiful friend,” 48-year-old actor Danny Taylor — Ballas will urge attendees who tune in to learn waltzes and cha-cha-chas to make a donation to Macmillan.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/shirley-ballas-have-decided-embrace-every-wrinkle/ ‘I have decided to embrace every wrinkle’