Shirley Ballas: Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas shared details about one of her most difficult decisions to date as she discussed her whirlwind love life and the early stages of her career while a guest on James Martin’s Saturday Morning show.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has recalled begging her first husband Sammy Stopford to take her back three months into her move to America, as she reflected on her whirlwind love life with ITV chef James Martin. The 63-year-old began by opening up about her brave decision to move to London aged just 16 with “not a penny” to her name, while in a relationship with British Ballroom Champion Nigel Tiffany.
Shirley Ballas, After a no-nonsense teacher told her to choose between marriage and dancing, Shirley said she made the difficult decision to focus on her career and went on to meet her new dance partner and first husband Sammy. Speaking further to James on his show, she shared: “I got to know Sammy Stopford and it was a meteoric rise at 17.
“I married Sammy at 18, we had five years together, we won everything. I was the youngest female to ever do that.” Shirley then made the decision to move to America with Corky Ballas, who went on to become her second husband and father to their only son together Mark Ballas, now 37.
Shirley Ballas ‘Running Off’ With 2nd Husband
Shirley Ballas, The dancer recalled: “I ran off with Corky Ballas to America. I was there for three months, decided I had made a mistake, called Sammy and said, ‘Can I come back?’ and he said ‘No’.” Following the rejection, Shirley said she stayed with Corky and taught him “how to dance from scratch” before they went on to win a dance championship.
Shirley Ballas, The following year however, Shirley said she had only managed to get to the first round of the competition, much to her disappointment. “I felt in Great Britain everyone had sort of said, ‘Well, you know you left, you made your bed now lie in it, basically’.
“And then I decided I was going to do everything I could to get back into that top six, whatever it took.
“In the meantime, I had a baby, moved back to Great Britain in 1990 and in 1995, Corky and I won the British Open to the World Championships and my ex-husband was second, oh yes.”
Shirley Ballas, Impressed by her whirlwind story, chef James replied: “That deserves a round of applause”.
“We went on to win it again,” Shirley chimed in after the reaction, to which the chef suggested that her life should be turned into a film.
“Well, I’d like that to be a possibility. It was a journey, you know, it was difficult,” the dancer replied.
Shirley Ballas, She went on to discuss the early days of her partnership with Corky, when people told her she was “wasting” her time on him and that with him only being a beginner, they’d never be able to make it to the top in the UK.
“And we did,” she added. “So, we proved to people that when they say you can’t, you just have to find the right avenue to be able to do that.”
Shirley Ballas, Shirley is now in a relationship with actor Danny Taylor who she met while co-starring alongside him in the pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk.