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Arlene Philips Reveals All To Good Housekeeping

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge tells the title that she was made to feel like “some kind of freak” after giving birth at 47…

She’s more used to judging other people in terms of fancy footwork. But former Strictly star and dancer Arlene Phillips has told Good Housekeeping that she was the one who was made to feel judged when she fell gave birth at 47 years old.

“[I was told] I was some kind of freak, that I would find it hard to bond with my baby when I could be the grandmother,” Phillips, now 74, revealed. “I’m so vociferous if anybody says something to me that I find offensive. But I was so vulnerable. I let all these remarks go by with tears in my eyes.

“Nowadays, being an older mother is very common. When you let all those things go you see the absolute joy of having a baby when you’re older. You really do feel like you’ve been given a gift.”

The choreographer is now stranger to sticking up for her generation, after she was axed from the BBC show aged 66 in favour of Alesha Dixon, 30. At the time a petition for Phillips’ reinstatement was signed by over 1000 people, and the dancer had this to say about the decision:

“I’ve never really been given a real reason [as to why I was axed],” she explained. “I don’t think I will ever know the answer. Certainly after Strictly I was in a very vulnerable situation. Prior to finding out that I was not going to be on the panel I had lost my manager of 30 years to cancer. I couldn’t think about fighting.

"I couldn’t think about losing a job. I was in despair and grief-stricken. I didn’t stand up or make my voice heard. I wasn’t in a place to be able to do that. But I have a 48-hour rule – it’s what I tell dancers and it’s what I tell my children – give yourself 48 hours to moan and groan, then just get up and get on with it."

To see the full interview, make sure to get your hands on a subscription to Good Housekeeping – and save up to 29% off today.

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