Christmas is a particularly difficult time for Shirley Ballas. In 2003, the Strictly star's brother David took his own life over the festive period, and ever since then she has struggled with the Yuletide season. But all that is about to change, thanks to her new boyfriend Danny Taylor. In an interview with Woman magazine, Shirley revealed she is preparing to celebrate Christmas for the first time in 16 years. "I'm excited to spend Christmas with Danny," she shared. "Danny has changed my whole perception of it." And that’' not all – the 59-year-old is also hoping for a very special gift under the tree. "I'd love him to ask me to marry him this Christmas!" she said of her 46-year-old boyfriend. "He's just too good to be true. When you get to my age, you don't think you are ever going to meet anyone, but I feel like I'm 18 again!"
It will be a world away from previous Christmases. Reflecting on the festive season prior to meeting Danny, Shirley has said: "There was no way we could enjoy Christmas without David. After David died, Mum threw away all the decorations. I was living in the US and we always got together as a family – sometimes his daughter Mary would go to her mother's, sometimes she'd come to me, usually quietly watching films on television and wishing it would be over. It was all a little bit solemn."
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Shirley and Danny met last Christmas during pantomime season, and their friendship quickly developed into a romance. “We met on panto as friends," Shirley revealed on Loose Women. "It didn't really take off until March… for him. I fell in love way before. I think for me it was first sight. He was going through a difficult time in his relationship. We did become friends and then probably in about February I said, 'I love you Danny' and he said, 'I know'. It took a while."