Shirley Ballas insists she is “learning to be herself” after five years in the Strictly Come Dancing job - and has urged her boyfriend Danny to propose.

The 61-year-old former ballroom champion joined Strictly in 2017 as head judge to replace Len Goodman.

But she insisted: “I’m learning to be myself more on the show. That’s something my son Mark said to me: I need to drop the walls because people can spot it when you’re being guarded.

"They see right through it, so I might as well be the real me.”

Shirley has had a busy few months, revealing in October her mum Audrey Rich was moving into the home she shared with boyfriend Danny Taylor.

Shirley insists she is “learning to be herself” after five years in the Strictly Come Dancing job

She is also in talks for her autobiography Behind The Sequins to become a musical.

It charts her rollercoaster life which has seen her married twice to her pro dance partners Sammy Stopford and Corky Ballas, and also her more recent success on Strictly on British TV.

Referring to boyfriend Danny, she praised their relationship but also urged him to get down on one knee.

Speaking in a new interview with Prima, Shirley said: “My relationship with Danny has changed my life. He’s very different to anyone I’ve been with before. First of all, he’s 6ft 1in, he’s the tallest man I’ve ever dated, and I love his jet black hair.

Shirley looked sensational on the cover shoot of Prima

Shirley opened up about improving her self esteem and staying fit and healthy

“He’s also very kind and very caring – he’s always there for me. I hope he’ll propose one day, but he’s never married and I think he’s a bit nervous about it, so we’ll see. Come on, Danny!”

Shirley also spoke about improving her self esteem and staying fit and healthy.

She added: “I have struggled with my self-esteem all my life. I’ve done all sorts to try to make myself feel more confident: I had my teeth straightened and fat drained out of my arms and legs; I thought doing my boobs would make my husband at the time like me more, but I was doing it for the wrong reasons.

Shirley Ballas and her partner Danny Taylor have been dating two years (

Image:

Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
Shirely opened up about hopes of getting engaged (

Image:

S Meddle/ITV/REX)

"You have to love yourself first. That’s my message to every woman.

“Health is my priority at 61. I keep fit and try to eat well. I work out on my Peloton bike and do yoga. I also try to drink two litres of water a day.

My downfall is my sweet tooth!”

* The January issue of Prima is on sale from today (December 2).

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