DWTS Alum Was Homeless, In A Cult As A Child


“Dancing With the Stars” alum Chrishell Stause has a memoir out now in which she writes candidly about her childhood growing up in Kentucky, including that her family was homeless at several points in her life and also that her parents got them involved for a while in what “felt like a cult.”

Chrishell’s Family Lived In A Tent & an Abandoned Schoolhouse

Chrishell’s book is called “Under Construction: Because Living My Best Life Took A Little Work.” In it, she details her small-town Kentucky upbringing, which was riddled with addiction and bouts of homelessness.

In the book, she writes about how when people mistake her for a “high maintenance girl,” she thinks about revealing how she actually lived in a tent for a year in middle school.

“I’d contemplate confessing that I actually missed a whole year of middle school due to our house burning down, forcing us to live in a tent, hopping from campsite to campsite,” write the “Dancing With the Stars” contestant. Chrishell and her partner Gleb Savchenko finished in eighth place on season 29.

In another chapter, Chrishell details how her family, which consisted of her two parents, who have since both died from lung cancer, and five daughters, lived in an abandoned schoolhouse for a while when she was in high school.

“[P]eople see me now and assume I was born in a $20 million LA Mansion,” writes the “Selling Sunset” star, “instead of being someone whose childhood was filled with eviction notices and who spent time living in an abandoned schoolhouse that had a leaky roof and a room full of old, creepy dolls in it.

“We lived in that schoolhouse for a while when I was in high school, and to this day I cannot stand the smell of mildew. The collapsed roof meant that the old mattress I slept on was always a little wet and mildewy … no utilities, but there was an old janitor’s closet and some puddles of dirty water … It was a source of deep humiliation for me. I was terrified people would find out we were actually squatting there.”

In an interview on fellow “Dancing With the Stars” alum Kaitlyn Bristowe’s podcast “Off the Vine,” Chrishell expanded on the book, saying that her parents “struggled with different things with addiction and mental illness, depression … and so there were some times where they’d be really good and then there were other times and they would not be … I was homeless at several points in my life.”

But she also praises her parents for doing the best they could, writing in her book, “Yes, they had their struggles with addiction and mental illness … [but] in hindsight, I’m thankful that I grew up learning how to be resilient and resourceful. My parents were freedom-loving hippies at heart.”

But Her Parents Did Get Them Involved In What ‘Felt Like a Cult’ For A While

Chrishell writes in her book how the downside to her parents being hippies at heart was that they got her family involved for a period of time in what “felt like a cult.”

It was called the Worldwide Church of God and while “legally [she] can’t say it was a cult … it sure felt like a cult.”

“They forbade members from celebrating birthdays and Christmas, and they would randomly make house calls to make sure you were still earning your way to heaven,” writes Chrishell, adding, “My parents got into the cult when I was about 10 years old. Reader, if you go to a church and you have a ‘leader,’ instead of a pastor or rabbi or minister, that’s your first clue that this might be a cult.”

But Chrishell said that her upbringing is what gave her the determination to make her dreams come true.

“I’ve gone through [life] with a determination that no matter what, I would never end up washing my hair in a river again … it’s key to remember that no matter what life hands you, you have to suck it up, believe in your abilities, and go after your wildest dreams,” writes the TV star.

“Under Construction: Because Living My Best Life Took A Little Work” is available now. In the book, she also goes in-depth on her time on “Dancing With the Stars” and her failed relationship with pro dancer Keo Motsepe.

“Dancing With the Stars” has not yet been renewed for season 31. If it is renewed, it will return in September 2022.

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