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Shirley Ballas admits she has ‘struggled with loneliness for a long long time’

Shirley Ballas admits she has ‘struggled with loneliness for a long long time’ and that lockdown ‘is not such a great place’ for her to be

Shirley Ballas has admitted to ‘struggling with loneliness for a long long time’ and explained how lockdown ‘is not such a great place’ for her to be.

Appearing on Friday’s Good Morning Britain, Strictly judge Shirley, 60, spoke from her home about the show’s One Million Minutes campaign to end loneliness – which has racked up over 83 million minutes this year.

Shirley – who has been a strong supporter of the campaign – told Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway: ‘I isolated for a majority [of the pandemic] on my own.

Struggles: Shirley Ballas has admitted to ‘struggling with loneliness for a long long time’ and explained how lockdown ‘is not such a great place’ for her to be

‘I had my boyfriend here a little bit but my son, I haven’t seen him for a year and a half, I didn’t see my mother, like everybody else in the country.

‘And I am not very good at being on my own because I am normally up and about and going and doing. The first part of the lockdown felt like a little bit of a holiday but then when it sets in and you suddenly find yourself quite alone, it’s not such a great place to be.

‘A time for reflection, I just decided to look at myself, get up, dress up, don’t complain, help somebody else. So that is what I have been trying to do through my charity work and through this pledging of the minutes.’

Shirley went on to reveal that this isn’t the first time in her life she has battled loneliness, explaining: ‘You can go about your daily life, you can be in a marriage like I was and it is still a lonely place to be, it is something I have struggled with for a long long time so I can really resonate with different people out there who struggle with it.’

Tough: Appearing on Friday's Good Morning Britain, Strictly judge Shirley, 60, spoke from her home about the show's One Million Minutes campaign to end loneliness - which has racked up over 83 million minutes this year

Tough: Appearing on Friday’s Good Morning Britain, Strictly judge Shirley, 60, spoke from her home about the show’s One Million Minutes campaign to end loneliness – which has racked up over 83 million minutes this year

She revealed she has volunteered and spoken to people on the phone who are suffering from loneliness.

She also asserted that her role judging on Strictly Come Dancing last year helped with her loneliness, saying: ‘I am the type of person where if I keep busy… I am normally going from 6AM in the morning until the evening and then suddenly in lockdown, you are looking for things to do because I am a rule follower.

‘I don’t like to break the rules. Of course I was absolutely extremely grateful that the BBC got Strictly on. I felt like I had won the lottery, so to speak ,and I will never take another job for granted for sure.

Stuck at home: 'And I am not very good at being on my own because I am normally up and about and going and doing. The first part of the lockdown felt like a little bit of a holiday but then when it sets in and you suddenly find yourself quite alone, it's not such a great place to be,' Shirley said

Stuck at home: ‘And I am not very good at being on my own because I am normally up and about and going and doing. The first part of the lockdown felt like a little bit of a holiday but then when it sets in and you suddenly find yourself quite alone, it’s not such a great place to be,’ Shirley said

‘I never thought that my own industry, that all the dancing studios would close… I was grateful for the people in the country that they were able to have Strictly, I was grateful to have it, but then after it all stops and it all goes quiet again, you have to stay busy.

‘I am a list maker… and you must stay active in your mind. If you go to that lonely place, it can be quite daunting.’

Shirley also threw her support behind Ben Shephard taking part in Strictly later this year.

She added: 'I don't like to break the rules. Of course I was absolutely extremely grateful that the BBC got Strictly on. I felt like I had won the lottery, so to speak ,and I will never take another job for granted for sure' [pictured with co-judges Motsi Mabuse  and Craig Revel Horwood]

She added: ‘I don’t like to break the rules. Of course I was absolutely extremely grateful that the BBC got Strictly on. I felt like I had won the lottery, so to speak ,and I will never take another job for granted for sure’ [pictured with co-judges Motsi Mabuse  and Craig Revel Horwood]

‘Well, first of all Ben has a beautiful neck and shoulder line,’ she said. ‘A ballroom dancer he could definitely be.’

Ben joked that while he might have the right frame with his neck and shoulders ‘unfortunately the back end and the undercarriage don’t match.’

Laughing, Shirley advised him to join her online Rise And Shine With Shirley classes, promising: ‘I can get him moving his undercarriage, no problem whatsoever! Join those classes, Ben!’

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV from 6AM.

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