Shirley Ballas says ex-husband put roach in doughnut to curb her eating while pregnant

Womanhood: Shirley Ballas says husband put roach in her donut

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Shirley Ballas, 61, has claimed her ex-husband, Corky Ballas, 60, hid a cockroach under a doughnut to stop her getting “too heavy” when she was pregnant. The Strictly Come Dancing judge made the statement in the BBC Two documentary, Womanhood.

The documentary brings together six famous women of different ages to explore how womanhood has changed over the years.

Shirley was joined by Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark, Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold, singer Sinitta, comedian Suzi Ruffell and author Chidera Eggerue.

The women visited The Viaduct Theatre in Dean Clough, Halifax, to meet psychologist Dr Jessica Taylor, who teaches people about domestic abuse.

While there, the women watched a dramatisation in which two actors portrayed an incident of coercive control.

Shirley became visibly emotional after watching the actors and had to be consoled by Jacqueline.

Speaking afterwards, she said: “The whole scenario was really sickening. It really makes you feel totally uncomfortable.

“Particularly if throughout your life you recognise some of that behaviour.”

Shirley then recalled when she was pregnant with her son, Mark, who is now 35.

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She said: “One of the moments when I was pregnant with my son, you know, I had dieted all my life, and then I had this fetish for doughnuts and milk.

“My husband at the time thought I was too heavy for being three months pregnant.

“So, he put a roach underneath my doughnut. So, when I ate my chocolate doughnut the roach was underneath the icing.”

Shirley says the horrifying moment has meant she has not touched a doughnut from that day onwards.

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The ex dancer also spoke about the experience in her autobiography, Behind the Sequins, which was published in October last year.

Recalling her horror, she said when she bit into the doughnut “the cockroach crackled in [her] mouth with the legs dangling on the outside”.

In quotes obtained by The Sun, Shirley added: “This made me vomit straight away.

“No doubt he thought this ‘creative’ solution was to ‘save me from myself’ and that I would ultimately thank him.

“But, for anybody to want to do this to a pregnant woman is hard to believe.” has contacted a representative for Corky for comment.

Shirley married fellow dancer Corky in 1985 and the pair went on to win a string of international dancing titles.

After 22-years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2007.

Over the course of Womanhood, Shirley opened up about their volatile marriage and the lifelong pressure she felt to “be a certain weight” and “look a certain way”.

She admitted that she has had cosmetic surgery in a bid to curb her “body image problems”.

She said: “I did things like Lipo-Light because they told me I could get this thing in my arm that would burn off the fat.

“I had new teeth… and I had a boob job because I thought it would make my husband think I was far more appealing.”

However, she says despite the surgery, “nothing changed”.

Womanhood is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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