‘Dancing With the Stars’ Alum Admits Show Took a ‘Toll’ on Her Mental Health

DWTS judges

ABC "Dancing With the Stars"

A “Dancing With the Stars” alum opened up about her time on the show in a new book that she co-wrote with her husband — who also starred on the reality competition show.

Alexa PenaVega and her husband Carlos PenaVega decided to open up about many hot-button issues — including having sex before marriage — in their new book, “What If Love Is the Point,” according to Us Weekly.

The couple, who wed in 2014, both competed on season 21 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Alexa was paired with pro Mark Ballas and finished in 6th place, while Carlos took lessons from Witney Carson and finished in 4th.

While the two had a blast competing — and even earned headlines calling them “the cutest,” there was a lot going on behind the scenes that fans didn’t see. Alexa talked about her time on the show in the book.

Here’s what you need to know:

Alexa Struggled at Times While Competing on DWTS

In August 2015, ABC confirmed that Alexa and Carlos had inked deals to join the cast of DWTS.

“Beyond excited that @vegaalexa and I are going to be competing this season on #season21 @dancingabc. Spending 24 hours at @disneyland #disneyland60 to celebrate!!!” Carlos captioned and Instagram pic at the time. He and his wife posed with the coveted Mirrorball Trophy alongside Mickey and Minnie.

And while the two appeared to enjoy competing on the show, Alexa admitted that she struggled. According to Us Weekly, Alexa discussed DWTS in the new book and said that the competition ended up taking a “toll” on her mental health.

Alexa leaned into some of those feelings and expressed how being eliminated really made her feel like she was letting people down. Alexa admitted that she has “people-pleasing qualities” and the competition caused those challenges to surface.

Alexa Previously Opened Up About Past Struggles With an Eating Disorder

In the PenaVega’s new book, Alexa opens up about her past struggles with an eating disorder. The “Spy Kids” actress recalled a time that she weighed just 90 pounds, according to Us Weekly.

This isn’t the first time that Alexa has talked about her eating disorder. On the night that she was eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars,” she revealed that she had struggled with bulimia.

Ahead of her dance with Ballas, the network aired a clip in which she talked to him about the eating disorder.

“I struggled with bulimia for so long. And even though I got through it, I feel like a lot of my insecurities from my body are from that,” she told him, according to E! News.

After her elimination, Alexa chatted with E! News about her decision to open up about her bulimia struggles.

“More than anything [Carlos and I] just kept saying, if we could just be a light for people, shine a light on marriage, shine a light on life…I feel like there’s so many things out there that are so negative. This is the one show where you can show something so positive and have fun and show a journey. If we could do that, that was our main goal, and I really felt like we did that, especially tonight,” she said.

Ballas had similar feelings — especially about the last dance he shared with Alexa on stage. “Tonight’s dance was bigger than the show. It was about a bigger message…to help people and to inspire,” he told the outlet.

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