Pride of Britain: Shirley Ballas reveals her proudest achievement of the year
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Shirley Ballas, 62, opened up about her close relationship with her son Mark Ballas, 36, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk. The Strictly Come Dancing judge has found it hard to spend time with her son over the past couple of years as he lives out in the US.
Speaking at the Pride of Britain Awards last month, Shirley became emotional as she discussed her son Mark.
Asked what she was “most proud of” from the past year, the BBC judge answered with a touching tribute to her son.
“My proudest achievement this year was that I got to fly to the United States and hold my son in my arms after three years of not seeing him.
“That is the proudest moment that I have had this year,” the star admitted with emotion.
Shirley’s son Mark, whom she shares with second ex-husband Corky Ballas, is an American dancer, choreographer, singer-songwriter, musician and actor.
Following in his mother’s footsteps, Mark is a professional ballroom dancer on Dancing with the Stars, which is the American equivalent of Strictly Come Dancing.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Shirley had been restricted from seeing her son Mark for a long time.
Strictly’s head judge seemed on the verge of tears last December when Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab announced the government “couldn’t make hard, fast guarantees” that there would not be a Christmas lockdown.
Shirley shared a picture of herself hugging her son, as well as a long video where she unpacked how she was feeling at the prospect of a Christmas without him, admitting: “Yeah, so a little bit of an emotional day today, you know.
“So we’re not sure – is there a lockdown? Isn’t there a lockdown? Will we get to see loved ones? Won’t we get to see loved ones?
“Of course you all know I haven’t seen my son, as many of you haven’t seen your loved ones, because he lives in Los Angeles.
“But yeah, for some reason this morning it was ultra-difficult, so I’ve had to kind of shake it off a little bit now and start getting ready for panto.”
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She continued: “But tell me about your loved ones and what everyone’s planning for Christmas and thoughts and where you’re at and I will do my very best not to cry. I will.
“Anyway, love you all, lots of hugs. I’ll give myself a hug and send a hug to my boy and all your loved ones, too. Take care.”
Alongside the video, the Strictly judge also included a long written message, which read: “A mother’s emotional day. Lots going on. Missing my boy more than ever @markballas.
“As a mother I always took for granted I could fly to see him. Over the last two years, when told to lockdown it becomes so much more difficult to plan.
“Now with the new variant we are on high alert it seems again. So all travel for the foreseeable future for me is out.
“Heartbreaking because I kept the thought of seeing him in March so close to my heart and now it may not happen.
“I’m a little crushed today to say the least, always strong and upbeat for others but with the last few years we have all had and now the new variant it will take massive strength to overcome my feelings.
“But today I’ll go with the emotions and let them out, and hoping for all my friends out there you will soon be reunited with your loved ones at home and abroad.” (sic)
Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight at 7.45 on BBC One.
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