Ex-DWTS Contestant Says They Had ‘5-Week Contract,’ Gives Details


ABC "Dancing With the Stars"

There have been rumors surrounding celebrities having contracts to stay on ABC’s dancing reality competition show “Dancing With the Stars” in the past, but the celebrities who have been allegedly involved with these contracts have not come forward.

Now, Anne Heche, who was a contestant on season 29 of “Dancing With the Stars,” is claiming that she had a five-week contract with the show.

In an episode of Jason Tartick’s podcast, “Trading Secrets,” Heche opened up about what she experienced on the show.

Heche Says She Lost Out on Money By Being Voted Off

The episode of the podcast, called “The Financial Risk of Being a Working Actor & Moving the Needle on LGBTQ+ Rights with Emmy Award-Winner Anne Heche & Heather Duffy,” was posted on Monday, November 1, 2021.

“What happened the night of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ … if I had gone on to another dance, I would have made thousands more dollars,” Heche said on the episode. “And what they did was stop the original contract, which was five weeks, and they fired me before I could make more money.”

She added, “That, to me, was one of the most shocking things. People saw me get ticked off, which seemed like an accident, nobody understood what was going on, there was a little kerfuffle.”

The “kerfuffle” she mentioned is in reference to the episode of season 29 of the show when Tyra Banks announced the incorrect bottom two teams and had to bring Heche and her partner back into the ballroom after previously announcing that they were safe.

“The fact that I got voted off stopped me from financially gaining any more money in the competition,” Heche concluded.

In a Reddit thread, fans discussed whether Heche was referring to a contract that said she would be safe for weeks on the show.

One fan who commented thinks Heche might’ve “misunderstood” her contract.

“I listened to the clip and it sounds like her contract was a set amount for the first five weeks. I imagine as they go deeper into the competition, you make more money per week. Since she only made it to week 4, and was in the bottom 2 the previous week, it made sense she was eliminated,” the commenter wrote. “It also makes sense that ‘money was left on the table’ but not because they changed her contract, but because she didn’t make it past the general week threshold for bonus money.”

Another commenter agreed: “How you described it is how I’ve always understood the celeb contracts as well. I heard it was a standard $125k for a set period (likely the first five weeks), then additional compensation for each week you go further and bonus for finals and winning.”

“Sounds like she just has sour grapes because she didn’t understand the contract,” another commenter added. “Multiple people have said what the contract is like and it doesn’t guarantee making any placement. You just make more the further you get.”

It’s important to note that competition shows that rely on votes from viewers cannot legally be manipulated when it comes to those votes.

Heche Famously Stormed off the Set After ‘Bulls***’ Turn of Events

According to reports at the time, Heche stormed off the “Dancing With the Stars” set when she was voted off. Page Six reported specifically that Heche stormed off and did not talk to the members of the press who were waiting for her.

Later, she told Page Six that she was upset since she’d opened up about her journey being LGBTQ+ during the episode, and it hurt that she was voted off that same day.

“The honest truth is that it took 20 years to process and share that story, so finally, telling it and being voted off on the same night was not the best feeling,” she told the outlet. “It did feel good to tell my story to show that we have come a long way, and we see things with more acceptance now.”

On the recent podcast episode with Heche, Tartick brought up the fact that Heche was sent home the same day she shared her story.

“I do remember, they told that story, and that was what kind of pissed me off a little bit, because that was the same night you went home,” he said. “I was like, this is bulls***.”

Heche said it was in line with the “pattern of [her] life,” but she still found it “shocking.”

“When I speak the truth … I get a negative reaction and get shut down. And because I had just told that story, it was a bit shocking that they would make the move [to send me home] on that very day.”

“Dancing With the Stars” airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. Eastern (live) and Pacific (recorded) on ABC.

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