Shirley Ballas admits 12-year age gap between her and boyfriend was an ‘issue'

Shirley Ballas has opened up about the age gap between her and her boyfriend, admitting that being 12 years older than him was an ‘issue’ for her in the beginning.

Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge Shirley, 59, was worried about being seen as the ‘older woman’ when she started dating Daniel Taylor, 47.

The couple confirmed their relationship in March this year, and Shirley revealed that the comments about her being older than him did grate on her.

She told Saga Magazine: ‘It makes me cross when he is described as a toy boy. He is a 47-year-old grown man who can make his own choices. He is not 18.

‘You can have a man who is 25 years older than his girlfriend and no one says anything.’

She revealed that the pair spoke about the age difference at length at the beginning of their relationship: ‘When I first got together with Danny it was an issue for me, and we sat for many hours talking about it.

‘I don’t want to go into a relationship that can’t go anywhere. I don’t want his son, aged eight, to get to know someone who is here today and gone tomorrow.’

The pair met during rehearsals for panto, when they both starred in Jack and the Beanstalk last year, and the dance champion admitted he made her ‘feel like a teenager’ again.

She recently admitted that she can be completely herself around Danny, telling Platinum magazine: ‘With Danny I can truly, truly, truly be myself.

‘I have no inhibitions. It would have been dressing gown on, trying to put the dress on without even showing a little bit of flesh and now it’s like I’m free! I’m free!’

She added: ‘Danny’s showed me the way, particularly when it comes to self-esteem and how a woman should feel about herself.

‘He’s taught me that God made each woman unique and that’s what makes you special. When you’re a teenager, it’s more physical first and then you get to know each other.

‘What happened with Danny and I, we got to know each other first and at my age, the most important thing was the intellectual side of it, the fact that he was such a good person.’

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