Shirley Ballas insists 'truth will come out' as she backs Giovanni Pernice

Shirley Ballas has continued to back Giovanni Pernice credit:Bang Showbiz
Shirley Ballas has continued to back Giovanni Pernice credit:Bang Showbiz

Shirley Ballas has claimed "the truth will come out" about Giovanni Pernice.

The 'Strictly Come Dancing' judge has defended the professional dancer - who will not be part of this year's lineup amid allegations of "threatening and abusive behaviour" towards his former partners on the show - and described him as a "perfect gentleman".

She told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "He has always been to me, and I will make that clear, to me, a perfect gentleman.

"My feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation or whatever it is they are doing and the truth will come out.

"I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him."

The 63-year-old dancer admitted she can only reflect on her "own perspective", and she refused to pass judgement until she knows "100 percent it is true".

She said: "You know, I can only talk from my own perspective. I have known Giovanni for 10 years. I know he is a hard worker. He wants the people to do the very best that they can do.

"Obviously in my life I was bullied a lot. I don't condone bullying on any path but also I don't believe gossip because things get escalated and they are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball.

"So we don't judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 percent. I won't pass on the gossip unless I know 100 percent it is true. He will be missed."

Earlier this month, the BBC unveiled the list of professionals who will take part in the upcoming series - which is due to air from September - and it included Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas and Vito Coppola.

Giovanni has rejected all the claims made against him and said he "looks forward to clearing [his] name" as the BBC continues to investigate the allegations.

The dancing champion first took part in the series in 2015, when he and 'Coronation Street' actress Georgia May Foote finished as runners up and in 2023, he competed with 'Sherlock' star Amanda Abingdon, but their time on the show was short-lived when she left and cited "personal reasons" as the reason behind her early exit.