Shirley Ballas has revealed she had a showdown with fellow Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood after he made disparaging comments about her breasts.
The 60-year-old professional dancer says Craig’s hurtful comments left her having to face things from her past that she thought she’d “dealt with” and “unleashed years of pain”.
Craig made the comments about Shirley’s appearance at her first audition for the BBC show, during his book tour in 2018.
Writing in her new autobiography, Shirley says: “It was awful and very, very painful. It brought up a lot of things from my past that I thought I’d dealt with.
“Once again, I was propelled back to my toughest days with [ex-husband] Corky, when he would make comments about my appearance: my crooked teeth, my nose, my arse that was too big.
“All those insults just came flying back as I read what Craig had said, apparently in jest.”
Shirley, who joined Strictly Come Dancing as head judge back in 2017, confronted Craig and says she “told him exactly how I felt”.
She said to him: ”’I’m your colleague. I should feel safe around you. You should feel like a protector to me and I should to you.
″‘If I have to worry every time you go out that you’re going to talk about me, that doesn’t make me feel good about being on this show’.”
Shirley adds: “I can tell you, when a man makes remarks about a woman’s appearance, what they don’t realise is, they might think it’s funny and other women may even laugh along but it’s not funny at all.
“Women don’t need anyone else to make critical remarks about them – we’re quite critical enough of ourselves without them chipping in.”
Shirley revealed that Craig apologised profusely and sent her flowers following their conversation.
She previously told The Sun: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone to make comments about anyone else – be it about their body or anything they do – when working as a team.
“I’m a team player and I have the backs of my fellow people. Yes, I got an apology – a sincere apology.
Shirley’s autobiography, Behind The Sequins, is out now.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.