My Celebrity Life

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas recalls being away from son at Christmas when he was younger

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has looked back on being apart from her son for several Christmases when he was younger, explaining that she felt ‘massive guilt’ over leaving him when she travelled abroad.

This year, numerous people across the nation and the world had to cope with being separated from relatives and loved ones throughout the Christmas period.

For Shirley, 60, her isolated festivities reminded her of times during her son Mark Ballas’ childhood when she travelled to Japan to compete in dance competitions, leaving the child in the care of her mother and her brother.

‘Even though I was earning a living and the money for his school fees, I remembered the massive guilt I felt leaving Mark with my mother and brother for those years,’ Shirley said.

‘It’s a really unique feeling that all mothers will know — it’s a wave of emotion that starts in your head and works its way through your body.

‘I knew what it’s like to be unable to hug your child at Christmas so I realised how tough it would be for others.’



Writing in a column for The Sun, the ballroom dancer revealed that she and Mark, who is a professional dancer on American TV show Dancing With The Stars, recently spoke about Shirley’s absence during his childhood for celebrations such as Christmas and birthdays.

‘When I asked Mark about it, he told me, “Of course I missed you as a child, but I understood that you were looking after the bigger picture and providing for us. We’ll keep moving forward and we’ll make up for it”,’ she said.

While Shirley couldn’t be with her son, her boyfriend Danny Taylor or her niece Mary, she did spend the day with her mother Audrey and her dog Charlie, she wrote.

And fortunately, she was able to catch up with her loved ones over video chat, something that she couldn’t do years ago during her competition days.

‘It meant so much, I don’t want to miss any more Christmases together,’ she said.

The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 series and Christmas special are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Credit: Original article published here.

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