WITH two marriages behind her, Strictly’s Shirley Ballas is hoping it is third time lucky with boyfriend Danny Taylor – she just can’t get him to pop the question.
Die BBC1 dance show’s head judge has been dating her toyboy since 2019 and is ready to move their relationship to the next level.
Sy het gese: “We do have a ring in the safe. It was a real palaver, and not a small thing to get that ring together.
“When we decide to do it I will tell you how the ring came about and where the stones were sourced.
“I like everything prepared and organised . . . he says, ‘I’ll do it when I am ready’.
“I’m always giving him a nudge. But the more you nudge him, the more he takes ten steps back.
“So let’s see when he’s ready.
“He has never been married and I have been married twice.”
Shirley freely admits, “I’m not easy to live with” but that’s exactly what she and Danny have done for most of their relationship.
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KIND AND COURTEOUS
The romance started after they both appeared in pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk in their native Liverpool at the end of 2018.
Shirley was Mother Nature and Danny played the villainous Fleshcreep.
The decision to live together was largely due to the practicalities of being in a bubble during the pandemic after they both caught Covid and suffered after-effects.
Shirley explained at the Good Housekeeping Live Festival in central London: “We decided to do lockdown together and that was like 150 years in two years. We got to know each other inside out.
“We both realised that we are quite compatible. So we talked about getting married then. I don’t know how I would like him to propose . . . I would rather not know.”
But what she did know when she opened her mind to finding love again was that she wanted a major change in her life.
Shirley had bad luck with her two marriages — the first from the age of 18 aan 23 with dance partner Sammy Stopford, the second from the age of 25 aan 47 to her latter dance partner, Corky Ballas.
Shirley says her two husbands never treated her as well as Danny does.
She insists he is a man who is “always kind, courteous and respectful”.
Die akteur, who has appeared in The Bill and Brookside, has something else she always found lacking with other men in her life.
Het Shirley gesê: “My first boyfriend was 5ft 7in, the second was 5ft 6in, my third was 5ft 6in. They were all tiny men in my life.
“If you want to find love, lie in bed, night and day, sê, ‘Be 6ft 1in please’. Put your order in.
“That is exactly what I did. I asked the universe.
“Then Danny came along and he is 6ft 1in, with a size 12 foot! He is also good-looking, a nice, kind person — and I have not seen him for two months.”
At this time of year Shirley is at her busiest, juggling her work in the dance world with her high-profile job on Strictly.
She recently took some flack from viewers via social media who claimed she favoured men on the show over female contestants.
The accusation was sparked after a dance-off last month between radio presenter Richie Anderson and pop star Fleur East, which saw three of the four judges vote to keep the latter without Shirley having to cast her vote.
That saw Richie shown the door, but when asked who she would have backed, she said she would have saved him.
That went against the consensus among viewers and the rest of the panel, and left many wondering what her thinking was.
But Shirley points out the fate of contestants such as Kym Marsh and her pro partner Graziano di Prima is decided much more by the viewers at home, and she explains that she backed the departing Loose Woman star Kaye Adams just as much as she did Richie.
Sy het gese: “Everybody has a favourite, but not everybody is voting as we saw Richie leave. That is all down to the votes.
“I’m not the one who puts them there. People have to understand that every week somebody has to go home. Kaye Adams surprised me.
“She went out in week one, as she was terrified as I met her in the corridor before she went out.
“But I think she did a grand job. She did show a lot of promise and it would have been nice to see more of her journey.”
Asked who she sees as this year’s underdog for the Glitterball trophy, she diplomatically said: “I’m not going to say who it is, I love them all.
“They are all trying their very best and they are all bringing something that is special.”
‘I’m always giving him a nudge. But the more you nudge him, the more he takes ten steps back!
Shirley on boyfriend Danny
Shirley, who has one son Mark, 36, from her marriage to Corky, admits she was far from the finished article when she first appeared on the show in 2017.
She would have been fine dancing, but it was the new challenge of talking and scoring live on one of Britain’s biggest shows that she was unfamiliar with.
Sy het gese: “When I started I was unsure how to do the scores and I forgot to press my button.
“They were all in the gallery saying, ‘Tell her to press her button!’ And you have to hold your paddle right under your chin. It’s nerve-racking.
“The thing that shocked me was my son tuning in from America saying, ‘Bloody hell, Mother — get a grip. All you have got to do is press your buzzer and get to your seat on time.”
Asked about her long-term future on the show, sy het gese: “I take it year by year. I don’t do long-term planning when it comes to a job like TV.
“Whenever they ask me back, I am happy to make a decision on how everyone is feeling.”
Sy het bygevoeg: “I do get nervous, as I am an anxious person all the time, as you have a job to do. You always want to deliver the best messages you can and I am tough on myself.”
She also likes to ensure she looks her best on the show and this year has had a little help from her fellow judge Motsi Mabuse.
Het Shirley gesê: “You know that was a wig on Strictly the other week, reg? I have a new gentleman called Sven and he’s very creative and he has all these wigs in a line.
“I thought it was rather good and it protects my own hair. So I think we’ve done a good thing with the wigs.
“Of course inspired by my friend Motsi, because her wigs are just sensational. Sy het gese, ‘You’ve got to try it, you’ve got to try it!’ and I’m glad I took her advice.”
Perhaps she could get Motsi to use her powers of persuasion on Danny.
- Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight on BBC1 at 6.50pm.