Strictlys Shirley Ballas was crushed over family separation

Strictly: Tony apologises to Shirley Ballas for saying 'go home'

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Shirley Ballas, 62, has just one son, Mark Ballas, 36, who is currently ripping up the dance floor in the USA on Dancing With The Stars. The family had been steadily dealing with the long distance, but last year when a Christmas together seemed more and more unlikely, the Strictly judge felt “crushed”. 

Shirley shared an impromptu emotional moment with her Instagram followers in the lead-up to Christmas last year. 

At the time, the Queen of Latin was starring in a pantomime of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Tunbridge Wells shortly after the 2021 series of Strictly ended. 

While sitting backstage, she candidly revealed the heartbreak she had been dealing with personally as Covid rules continued to fluctuate. 

She captioned the moving clip: “A mothers emotional day. 

“Lots going on. Missing my boy more than ever. 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.”

Along with the video, she posted a photo of her and Mark, which she emotionally noted was “a hug I took for granted”.

In the clip Shirley admitted that she knew she was not alone in this predicament as many others were unsure if they would be able to see their family members again. 

She also opened space in her comments, encouraging fans and followers to share stories of their own loved ones and their “plans for Christmas”, adding: “I will do my very best not to cry.”

Months later, once lockdown restrictions globally had receded, Shirley at last was able to make plans to see Mark and his wife BC Jean. 

However, Shirley was so excited she went to the airport a day early by mistake. 

She laughed about the incident on Instagram saying: “I guess I just got soooo excited to go see my son and his wife and all my friends and I didn’t read my ticket. Three years can you believe it. 

“The motto of this story read your ticket when you have not travelled in such a long time.”

After being reunited, both sides of the Ballas family have gone into dancing television. 

Mark is currently competing on Dancing With The Stars, with his celebrity partner Charli D’Amelio, while his mum leads the judges on Strictly Come Dancing. 

Strictly Comes Dancing continues tonight at 7pm on BBC One.

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