Shirley Ballas, the head judge of Strictly Come Dancing, has confirmed that she is still in a relationship with her fiancé Danny Taylor. Earlier this month, Ballas had referred to Taylor as a “good friend,” leading to speculation that the couple had split. However, in a recent interview with The Sun, Ballas asserted, “Danny, we’re still together after four-and-a-half years. That’s miraculous.” She went on to explain that their busy schedules, with Taylor often in the north and Ballas in the south, make maintaining their relationship a challenge. Nevertheless, Ballas praised Taylor for his understanding and patience, stating that he has a “heart of gold” and puts up with her hectic lifestyle.
According to reports, Ballas and Taylor first met in January 2019 during rehearsals for a Christmas pantomime production of Jack and the Beanstalk, in which they both starred. Meanwhile, the BBC has announced that the annual dance competition, Strictly Come Dancing, will be returning next month. The cast includes stars such as EastEnders’ Bobby Brazier, TV presenter Angela Rippon, and veteran broadcaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy. The addition of Sherlock actor Amanda Abbington to the cast has caused controversy due to past tweets about drag shows and trans issues.
Ballas joined Strictly in 2017 following the departure of Len Goodman, and she expressed her hope that the upcoming series will pay tribute to him. Before her return to the show, Ballas has been raising awareness and funds for a suicide charity. She recently completed a wing walk for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), where she was strapped to the top of a propeller plane that took off from Headcorn Airfield in Kent. After completing the challenge, Ballas was visibly emotional and shared, “That was difficult and tough. I had to mentally be in a strong place to even climb up on the plane, never mind be strapped to it. But I’m so glad I did it.”
Ballas has now finished two out of three parts of her Skyathlon challenge, which also included flying across Penrhyn Quarry in North Wales on the world’s fastest zipline and skydiving from 13,000ft. She expressed that overcoming her fear of heights has been the most challenging thing she has ever done and hopes that her efforts raise awareness and save lives. Ballas has raised over £30,000 for CALM so far.
As an advocate for mental health, Ballas became an ambassador for CALM because of her personal experience. Her brother died by suicide approximately 20 years ago, and she wanted to do more to make a difference. Through her role on Strictly, Ballas has used her platform to promote discussions surrounding mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, remember that support is available. In the UK and ROI, you can contact The Samaritans for free and confidential support at 116 123 or email [email protected]. For those in the USA, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), offering free and confidential crisis assistance 24/7. Additionally, www.befrienders.org provides helpline resources for other countries.