Shirley Ballas is the glamorous Glitterball queen who radiates style and class from top to toe.
The Strictly Come Dancing head judge is the picture of poise and elegance on the hit BBC series.
But fans who read her new autobiography may look at her a little differently when Strictly returns.
In it, she reveals details of the first time she had sex – and it was about as far removed from the glitz of the ballroom as possible.
Shirley, 60, did the deed in 1976 with her teen sweetheart Nigel Tiffany – in a holiday camp chalet.
The amorous pair planned to keep their trip to Pontins quiet, but Nigel’s parents rumbled their fumblings by mistake.
Shirley explained: “We first got intimate together on a dance trip to Pontins – who said romance was dead?
“We weren’t intending to tell his parents, but they accidentally found out when they unpacked his dance bag back at home and out fell the condom wrapper. So embarrassing!
“They were furious with both of us, properly bent out of shape by the whole thing.
“They told me they planned to tell my mother, but I managed to get in first with a quick phone call to Wallasey. Unsurprisingly, my mother didn’t bat an eyelid, checking quickly that I’d been ‘sensible enough to use protection’. It takes more than that to shock her.
“With a few exceptions, she’s always remained as cool as a cucumber whenever I’ve had to break the news of my latest debacle.”
Shirley did not reveal which Pontins site she had lost her virginity at but there are several near her childhood home in Merseyside – including Southport and Prestatyn.
It’s not the first time she has mentioned former flame Nigel, who runs a wealth management service and still gets a 10 in her books.
In 2018, she tweeted a picture of them both, captioned: “My first fiancé, engaged when we were 16, and still my best friend, my financial adviser. Such an amazing man who has done so well in life. He came along to Strictly to support me.
“Grateful to have been friends for 42 years. So many amazing memories. Cheers Nigel.”
By the time she was 15, Shirley had moved to North Yorkshire to partner British Ballroom Champion Nigel.
Two years later, they moved to London but their partnership ended after dance teacher Nina Hunt convinced her to audition to partner with dancer Sammy Stopford.
She and Sammy married in 1980 but divorced four years later.
As dance partners, their best result was winning Professional Latin at Blackpool Dance Festival in 1983.
In 1985, Shirley married Texan dancer Corky Ballas and together, the pair went on to win Professional Latin at Blackpool Dance Festival in 1995 and 1996.
They went on to move to Houston, Texas, with their son Mark, now 34 and a professional ballroom dancer, to compete. They divorced in 2007.
Shirley, who replaced Strictly head judge Len Goodman, 76, in 2016, says she has not spoken to Corky, 59, since he accused her of cheating on throughout their marriage in a newspaper article.
She claims he was jealous of her Strictly success but remains hopeful that they can be reconciled one day.
The star says she was most offended by his comments about her mum Audrey, who he accused of wrecking their marriage.
Shirley said: “He told the paper, ‘Audrey was silent and deadly, and like a termite eating the house of our marriage – you don’t know the threat is there, then suddenly all the wood has disappeared’.”
Shirley and Nigel are not the only future stars to stay at Pontins.
The holiday camp has given big breaks to entertainers such as Bobby Davro, Bradley Walsh and Shane Richie, who worked as Bluecoats.
- Behind The Sequins: My Life by Shirley Ballas is out now, published by BBC Books and Penguin.
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