Darcey Bussell: My battle with depression

My battle with depression, by Darcey Bussell

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UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 30 July 2012

Darcy Bussell has publicly spoken about the depression that hit her

Darcy Bussell has publicly spoken about the depression that hit her

Under the spotlights she was a star – but once the curtain came down for the final time, and away from the audience she adored, Britain’s most celebrated ballerina fell into a deep depression.

Darcey Bussell has now spoken for the first time about her battle with the illness which occurred after she retired.

The 43-year-old mother of two is shortly to make her comeback as a judge on BBC1 ballroom hit Strictly Come Dancing, replacing Alesha Dixon, and declared she was finally happy, saying: ‘At least I’m not being compared to everything I’ve done in the past.’

Miss Bussell retired from the Royal Ballet aged 38, receiving a standing ovation at the end of her final performance at the Royal Opera House.

But when she moved to Sydney with her husband Angus Forbes and daughters Phoebe, 11, and eight-year-old Zoe, the sudden break from the relentless pressure of performing left her feeling down.

Miss Bussell admitted: ‘I got depressed. I didn’t appreciate how low I got. My husband did. He said, ‘‘You know, Darcey, you’re better when you’re busy’’. I thought it was weakness to show you couldn’t cope.’

Writing about her low moments in her new photo-biography, the dancer said: ‘I pretended there were very few of them and just got on with it.’

She also told a newspaper: ‘I had been brought up not to make other people feel bad just because you do.’

Dance called her back as she presented a programme on an Australian arts channel.

She also embraced dance classes again, saying: ‘As soon as I was moving, I was happy.’

Now she is returning to prominence in Britain as president of the Royal Academy of Dance, which trains teachers and students.

Darcey Bussell was the star of the Royal Ballet and the ballet dancer whose name everybody knows

Darcey Bussell was the star of the Royal Ballet and the ballet dancer whose name everybody knows

With a new project on her hands, Darcey is looking forward to starting a new challenge on Strictly

With a new project on her hands, Darcey is looking forward to starting a new challenge on Strictly

She will also become a full-time judge on the popular BBC Strictly Come Dancing show.

She will join Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli on the judging panel for Strictly when it returns in the autumn.

Born Marnie Mercedes Darcey Pembleton Crittle, she was awarded the CBE in 2006 and once made a guest appearance as herself in BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley.