Emma Slater has been a pro on “Dancing With the Stars” for more than a dozen seasons, but there are some partners that she has worked with that she shares a very special bond with — one that far outlasts the show.
On season 28, Slater was partnered with “Dawson’s Creek” actor James Van Der Beek. The two ended up becoming extremely close and their friendship has carried on outside of the competition. Slater has also become good friends with Van Der Beek’s wife, Kimberly.
On the June 15, 2023, episode of the “Bathroom Chronicles” podcast — co-hosted by Kimberly Van Der Been and Peggy Rometo — Slater talked about her time on the show with James Van Der Beek and how the journey was “very rare.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Emma Slater Says That Her Journey With James Van Der Beek Was ‘Intense’
Slater and James Van Der Beek finished the competition in fifth place. Toward the end of his time on the dance competition show, James Van Der Beek’s wife experienced a pregnancy loss, making things extra emotional.
“It really is so precious. And that journey, I’ve done many. I’ve been on the show now for 10 years, and I’ve done, I think it might be 14, something like that, 14 celebrities that I’ve had the pleasure of dancing with. Every time is special, but that journey was very rear, very special, and really, really, probably the most intense one for me,” Slater said, adding that she and James Van Der Been “really connected.”
Slater says that she often goes back and watches some of the dances that she and James Van Der Beek did together. In June 2023, Slater went to visit the Van Der Beek’s home and ended up recreating one of the routines that she did with the actor.
“I went to visit @vanderjames in Texas and we ended up dancing our Samba from @dancingwiththestars for a group to friends staying in the Ranch! I just can’t believe how well he remembered it, even though Samba was our favorite. It’s like he gets better and better, this only took about 15 mins to review and most of that was because I needed it. All I can say is Tooty Fruity what a Booty,” she captioned an Instagram post on June 26, 2023.
James Van Der Beek Shared News of His Wife’s Miscarriage on the Show
During a pre-dance package that aired on season 28, James Van Der Beek revealed that his wife had lost the couple’s sixth child.
“My wife Kimberly and I went through every expecting parent’s worst nightmare. We lost the baby. The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond,” he said, according to People magazine.
“You never know why these things happen, that’s what I’ve been telling my kids. All you know is that it brings you closer together, it breaks you open, it opens your heart, it deepens your appreciation. It makes you more human,” he said. He dedicated his dance that night to his wife.
On the “Bathroom Chronicles” podcast, Slater talked a bit about the tragedy that had struck the Van Der Beek family.
“I think potentially also that some of the audience may have resonated with that and not wanted him to be away from you,” Slater told Kimberly Van Der Beek, offering an explanation on why James Van Der Beek may have been sent home that night.
“He was really, really heartbroken,” Slater said. Kimberly Van Der Beek says that she “really needed” her husband home at that time, so it was definitely bittersweet.