SHIRLEY Ballas has revealed what it felt like to be judged over her body when she returned to the dance floor six weeks after giving birth.
The Strictly judge, 63, said she was cruelly shamed over her stretchmarks in 1986 and insisted that type of criticism would never be allowed today.
The TV star said: "It wasn't like it is today where everybody's got to walk on an eggshell to tell you something.
"I went back to dancing six weeks after having my baby. I was told: 'I marked you third as I refuse to look at the stretch marks on your back. I find it revolting".
Shirley – who was just 26 years old at the time – added on the Radio Times podcast: "I just accepted it, moved on and did what I needed to do – for me, it was character building."
Shirley didn't let the jibe affect her confidence.
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She is now one of the most glamorous women on TV after being appointed head judge on Strictly in 2017.
And after years of struggling to “switch off” she has achieved more "balance" in her life.
“As I get older, I’m listening to my body, so if it decides it needs more time to rest, there’s nothing wrong with that,” she told The Sun last month.
“My sleep habits are improving, I get plenty of water and I choose to surround myself with people like my mum, my personal assistant Harry, my driver George and my son [Dancing With The Stars’ Mark Ballas, 37], who are all uplifting people.”
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Another person enriching Shirley’s life is her boyfriend of five years, Danny Taylor, 50, who she met while rehearsing for panto at the Liverpool Empire.
“I would have married him then, but now, with my life the way it is, I think we’re both happy with our situation,” Shirley said of their decision earlier this year to call off engagement plans, which allowed them time to focus on their families.
Danny has a teenage son, while Shirley shares a home with her 84-year-old mum Audrey, who is in remission from colon cancer.
And in June, her LA-based son Mark and his wife BC Jean, both musicians, announced they’re expecting their first child.
“Marriage isn’t a necessity,” continued Shirley, whose four-year nuptials to former dancer Sammy Stopford ended in 1984, a year before she tied the knot to husband of 22 years, ballroom dancer Corky Ballas.
“I was a bit more pushy, and when it didn’t happen, I thought: ‘He’s busy, I’m busy.’
"We get together, we enjoy that time when we can with no pressure. It works for us.”
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