Strictlys Shirley Ballas torn over moving back to America: ‘I dont want to be a part-time Grandmother

Shirley Ballas is thinking of moving back to America – to spend more time with her new grandson Banksi Moon.

TheStrictly Come Dancingjudge's only child Mark Ballas, who is married to singer-songwriter BC Jean, made Shirley a grandmother last month when his first son was born.

Now UK-based Shirley, 63, isn’t sure occasional visits to LA will be enough. One option would be to move back to the States, where she lived for 11 years. “I don’t want to be a part-time grandmother,” she insists. “I want to be there as much as I can be, as much as his mum and dad will allow me to be part of the baby’s life. I could spend six months there and six months here – and I can afford to. I don’t want to miss out on my grandbaby. That is instilled in my head.”

It’s definitely a possibility, but Shirley already has a full timetable in the UK. Not only is she head judge on BBC One’s biggest entertainment show, Strictly Come Dancing , she also appears in the show’s long-running tour. She devotes the remaining six months of the year to dance championships. There are three major events: January’s UK Dance Championships at the BIC Centre in Bournemouth; the Blackpool Dance Festival in May; and in October the industry collects at the Royal Albert Hall for the International Dance Championships.

Shirley also uses this time for her literary endeavours and work for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – Suicide&Co and many other charities that are deeply important to her.

“I’d never want to leave Strictly ,” says Shirley. “I’ll be on TV and on the tour for as long as they’ll have me.
I love Strictly . It’s like a day at Disneyland for me. When it’s ‘lights, camera, action’ I forget everything that’s gone on in the week. But it’s just on a weekend. I can always fly to the States on a Monday and come back on a Friday.”

For such a highly driven professional, Strictly might feel like a holiday, but her schedule sounds exhausting. “On Saturdays I’m up at 5.30am and on my way to yoga at 6.30am,” says the star, who eventually arrives at the studio for an 11.30am start in a whirlwind of hair, make-up and rehearsals before the show goes out live on air. When she finally gets home after midnight, she’s still not done. “I get home about 12.30 in the morning,” she says. “My mum is waiting for me with a cup of tea for a debrief. God help me if I said something she didn’t agree with… that’s more scary than a 15 million-strong audience!”

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