Shirley Ballas smiling and Giovanni Pernice looking in front

Strictly head judge Shirley Ballas backs ‘true gentleman’ Giovanni Pernice amid scandal

'He's got a work ethic that is the same as mine'

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Star of Strictly Shirley Ballas has weighed in on the drama surrounding Giovanni Pernice and given her opinion on the Italian dancer.

Giovanni has continued to make headlines recently over allegations about his training methods on Strictly. His 2023 dance partner Amanda Abbington reportedly developed PTSD following her time on the show. Others celeb partners of Giovanni’s have also reportedly complained.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Giovanni would not be returning to Strictly this year. He joined the show back in 2015.

With an investigation into his alleged behaviour ongoing, Shirley discussed Giovanni in a new interview.

Shirley Ballas smiling
Head Strictly judge Shirley opened up about her friendship with Giovanni (Credit:

Shirley Ballas on Giovanni Pernice

During an interview with Best, Shirley was asked whether she found the situation with Giovanni “hard to navigate”.

In response, she said: “I think everybody in the Strictly cast is fantastic and I’ve known Giovanni a long, long time. I’ve known him probably longer than a lot of people have known him and I can only talk from personal experience.”

Shirley insisted Giovanni has “got a work ethic that is the same as mine”. She continued: “He works hard and he wants the best for anybody who wants to learn. He’s a true gentleman, and of course, he always looks drop-dead gorgeous.”

Shirley Ballas and Giovanni Pernice
Shirley says she and Giovanni share a similar work ethic (Credit:

Strictly news

Discussing their friendship, Shirley said Giovanni is “one of those very thoughtful people” who “always puts his best foot forward” and is “always on time”.

“He called me the other day to invite my mum to a show he was doing because they love each other. As popular as he is, he will always try and make his way to any fan who wants to see him and will always make them feel super-special,” Shirley added.

Giovanni has addressed the allegations in the couple of statements. He released a statement last week addressing the situation.

While on tour, he said he looks forward to “clearing my name” after the BBC investigation “determines the truth”.

Read more: Debbie McGee expresses ‘heartbreak’ for Giovanni Pernice amid Strictly exit

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Fabio Magnocavallo
Freelance Writer