Strictly judge shares death threats make her scared to leave home

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Strictly's Shirley Ballas reveals death threatsBBC

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has opened up on receiving death threats and sexual comments that have been negatively impacting her life.

Ballas, who replaced Len Goodman as Strictly head judge in 2017, shared her fears in new ITVX documentary Olivia Attwood vs The Trolls. The TV personality revealed that dealing with trolling left her scared to leave her house for fear of people "lurking in dark corners".

"I've had people draw coffins with me in it with somebody with a spade that said, 'Die, you bitch'," she said on the documentary.

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"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 continued.

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

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

"Sometimes at night, I lie there and wonder, Are they suffering? Are they lonely? Is it funny to them?"

shirley ballas
Ray Burmiston - BBC

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Ballas showed Attwood some of the abusive comments of sexual nature she receives regularly, admitting her experience being in the public eye and on the receiving end of hateful comments made her "more vigilant".

"This whole experience has made me much more vigilant," she said.

"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."

Ballas has returned as judge on the current season of Strictly, with Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton du Beke also on the panel.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturdays and Sundays on BBC One, while spin-off Strictly: It Takes Two airs on weeknights on BBC Two. Both shows are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

Tickets for Strictly's 2024 live arena tour are available now.

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