In her new autobiography, Shirley, 60, reveals her anguish after Craig made the remarks in a room full of people on a book tour during her second series on the BBC show.
She said, “It was horrible and very, very painful. It brought up a lot of things from my past that I thought I dealt with.
And she says: “Once again, I was propelled into my most difficult days with [ex-husband] Corky, when he was commenting on my appearance: my crooked teeth, my nose, my too big ass.
“All these insults came back in flight as I read what Craig had said, apparently joking.
Shirley, who joined as chief justice in 2017, then had confrontational talks with Craig where she “told him exactly how I was feeling.” She told him, “I am your colleague. I should feel safe with you. You should feel like a protector for me and I should for you.
“If I have to worry every time you go out to talk about myself, it doesn’t make me feel good about being on this show.”
Shirley adds in the book: “I can tell you, when a man comments on a woman’s appearance, what he doesn’t realize is that he may think it’s funny and other women may even laugh but it’s not funny at all.
“Women don’t need anyone else to make critical remarks about them – we’re pretty critical of ourselves without them intervening.”
Shirley says Craig apologized profusely and sent her flowers after their breakup.
She also opens in the book – titled Behind The Sequins – about her shaky marriage to second husband Corky, who she said used to comment on her weight.
Texan Corky and mother-of-one Shirley had been together for 23 years before finally divorcing ten years ago. They have won a series of international dance titles, including the Latin American Championships seven times.
Shirley alleges that when she got pregnant in 1986, Corky told her, “Be too fat and I’m at the door. I don’t do big, Shirley. She says, “He started watching everything I ate, then he secretly grabbed my donut box and hid a big cockroach under the glass. When I ate my next donut, the cockroach was crackling in my mouth with my legs dangling outside.
“It made me throw up right away. No doubt he thought that this “creative” solution was to “save myself from myself” and that I would.
thank him eventually, but it’s hard to believe anyone would want to do this to a pregnant woman.
Shirley describes how they had rude slang matches and that she was often sick with stress.
Judge Strictly also shares how she once punched a dancer at a championship who claimed to have slept with Corky. She admits, “I punched her and she rolled. I am not proud. All I could hear around me were people whispering, “Is that Shirley Ballas?” The star says Corky, now 59, later admitted to an affair, which Shirley said left her “shocked and perplexed.”
She says: “For several years I suspected this very fact. I had expressed my concerns to Corky but he accused me of slipping out of my mind.
“It made me question my own sanity to the point where I asked for advice for what I thought were increasingly paranoid thoughts.
I’ll never forget the dark days of depression
Shirley also opened up about her own battle with depression and anxiety after her brother David committed suicide in 2003 at the age of 44.
She says of her own struggle: “The panic is terrifying but the loneliness is worse. ”
She said she had received medication in the past and that things took a turn for the worse after she split from her ex-husband Corky.
She recounted how she used to cry ‘uncontrollably’ and ‘started to sink like a rock, going to a very dark place, and wondering if this was the same black hole my brother often had. speak. ”
Her doctors prescribed pills for her to help her sleep and also to get through the day: “I was like a baby rattle with everything I took. ”
Even now, Shirley can sometimes struggle: “I will never forget those dark days. These feelings still haunt me. ”
Shirley Ballas Behind The Sequins (BBC Books / Penguin) is now available.