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‘It has changed my life’: Shirley Ballas scared to leave home after receiving death threats

Shirley Ballas   (Getty Images)
Shirley Ballas (Getty Images)

Shirley Ballas says she is afraid to leave her house after receiving death threats online.

The professional dancer and Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 63, revealed how sinister messages including “pictures of coffins” have prompted concern for her safety and left her fearing that people are “lurking in dark corners or hiding behind walls”.

Appearing on new show Olivia Attwood vs The Trolls, Ballas said: ‘I’ve had people draw coffins with me in it with somebody with a spade that said, ‘Die you b***h’.

“It’s when it is personal about myself and my family and it affects my mental health. I am not just talking about your phone.”

She added: “I am talking about being in public. You worry about those same strange people that write these kinds of messages.

Shirley Ballas recently returned to her head judge role on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (PA Media)
Shirley Ballas recently returned to her head judge role on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (PA Media)

“Are they lurking in dark corners? Are they hiding behind walls when you go somewhere?”

Ballas went on to say that while she feels that she can never relax because of the messages, she also has a degree of sympathy for those responsible.

“Sometimes at night, I lie there and wonder, Are they suffering? Are they lonely? Is it funny to them?’ she explained.

“This whole experience has made me much more vigilant. I cannot say that I leave my front door unless I am on point. I never relax. It has changed my life completely I would say.”

It’s not the first time that Ballas has come up against online abuse.

In August, she was forced to seek counselling after receiving a torrent of vile abuse during the last series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Though she has returned to the 2023 series, she previously told how she even toyed with the idea of not coming back.

Speaking to OK! magazine, she explained: : “I’ve had down and dark days throughout my whole life but I’ve always had music and I’ve always had dancing. And of course I’ve got my mother and we’re glued at the hip.

“What it [the trolling] did to me on the last series, I wouldn’t want that for anyone.”