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Strictly judge Darcey Bussell reveals ballet career has left her needing a new hip

Years of dancing have taken their toll on Strictly judge Darcey Bussell and she has revealed she needs a hip replacement at the age of 46.

Darcey became the Royal Ballet’s youngest principal dancer at the age of 20 and retired from the world of ballet 18 years later with a catalogue of injuries.

'Have fun and work hard', says DarceyOfficial in our feb issue – out now:

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She told Woman & Home magazine that she hoped technological advancements might help her avoid a much-needed titanium hip.

“I’ve been told I’ll need to have a hip replacement at some point, but technology changes so rapidly that they might have invented something new by then.

Over the years I’ve had two ankle operations, torn my hamstring, had my hip resurfaced and snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in my knee.

Darcey Bussell

Darcey and Zoltan Solymosi dance to Swan Lake in 1992 (Martin Keene/PA)


“My ‘new’ knee now feels like a bionic knee compared with my old one. But, as a dancer, injuries are part of your career.”

Darcey said she had no regrets about her career despite the injuries and was proud to show her two daughters, Phoebe, 14, and Zoe, 11, that she never gave up.

She said: “I’ve achieved everything I’ve wanted to achieve so I’m not scared of failure. I never gave up, however bad the injuries got. Even after having children, after five months I was dancing again, which was kind of crazy. I feel I have nothing left to prove.

Darcey Bussell

Darcey and eldest daughter Phoebe (Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/PA)


“I went as far as I could with my ballet, did everything I could, to be my best. And as long as I remember that – and remind my kids of that – then that’s enough for me.

“Everything in my new career is a bonus.”

She’s now back in the spotlight on the Strictly judging panel and has cemented herself as one of the most popular of the four.

Strictly Come Dancing

Darcey joined Craig, Len and Bruno in 2012 (Guy Levy/BBC)


But despite her willingness to undergo surgery for her health, Darcey’s ruled out cosmetic surgery – although she admitted: ”I get a bit paranoid about doing Strictly and having to wear a skin-tight dress every week.”

She said: “You can’t help worrying about ageing, especially when everything goes a bit south. You forget how quickly you change…

“I would never take any unnatural risks – I’ve been under the knife too many times with injuries as a dancer, so I wouldn’t want to be under the knife for anything else.”

Darcey also admitted she avoided being 'faddy about food' as she worried becoming too conscious of what she eats could harm her daughters' attitudes.

For the full interview see the February issue of Woman & Home, on sale now.