Shirley Ballas is finally able to embrace Christmas again thanks to Strictly Come Dancing.
The 58-year-old judge – who replaced Len Goodman on the show in 2017 – and her mother Audrey have struggled over the festive season since the death of Shirley’s brother David 15 years ago but she admitted she’s now “finally understood” that life goes on.
Shirley told You magazine: “There was no way we could enjoy Christmas without David. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t there, eating his treble helpings of Christmas dinner with ten glasses of milk. After David died, Mum threw away all the decorations.
“Last year I was the new girl but this year I feel a full part of Strictly and it’s impossible not to be inspired by such a sparkly merry-go-round of a show.
“The fans have sent me so many beautiful, supportive messages about my brother, it’s all helped me reinvent Christmas, so for the first time in years, the house will feel celebratory like it used to.”
And Shirley plans to pay tribute to David on December 25.
Meanwhile, the Queen of Latin – who was previously married to Sammy Stopford and Corky Ballas, the father of her son Mark – admitted landing her job on Strictly meant a lot to her.
She added that doing the show “really boosted” her confidence and that she “needed that boost”.
Last month, Shirley opened up about how she has been nursing her mum, Audrey, who has cancer.
Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, the 58-year-old revealed: “She was diagnosed earlier this year. But she’s a trouper and we are dealing with it.
“I came over to her in the summer to take care of her and I had to learn to be a nurse.”
Shirley says she speaks to her mum – who she calls “a star” – four times a day and cooks for her, despite being “terrible” at it.
She added: “I would put her food down on a tray on her bed and I would be standing there like, ‘Is this okay?’ And she would say, ‘You did good. Maybe a bit more salt next time.'”
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