James Van Der Beek Finally Able to Thank Tom Bergeron & Emma Slater


“Dancing With the Stars” season 28 contestant James Van Der Beek was recently able to thank host Tom Bergeron and his pro partner Emma Slater for what they did for him during that season.

Here’s what you need to know:

James Van Der Beek’s Post From ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 28 Finally Got Allowed by Instagram

In an Instagram story, the “Dawson’s Creek” actor revealed that he tried to post this message to Bergeron and Slater back in July 2020, but Instagram pulled the post down.

“Instagram pulled this post down two and a half years ago, and just today informed me they have decided to allow it…” writes Van Der Beek on his Instagram stories. “Warning: might make you cry. And want to dance.”

In her Instagram stories, Slater reposted the reel of the two of them with some heart emojis.

Van Der Beek Thanked Slater For Her ‘Unwavering Level of Commitment’ & Bergeron For Something Viewers Didn’t Get to See

In the caption on the reel, Van Der Beek issues thank-yous to Slater, Bergeron and the show in general, writing about how wonderfully the show treated him and his mother.

The video is of his contemporary routine with Slater to the song “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey.

In the video, Van Der Beek explained what that song means to him, saying, “‘Don’t Stop Believing’ to me reminds me of the support I got from my parents because this song is all about following your heart and not giving up. … My parents never gave up on me.”

“Thank god for my parents,” he told Slater, adding, “I don’t know what made my parents continue to believe in me, but there’s no way I could’ve done that without their support.”

In the caption, he wrote about how he thought his mother was dying prior to his time on “Dancing With the Stars” and he is so thankful to the show for the moments they had together during this episode.

Van Der Beek wrote:

A year and a half ago, I bought a plane ticket at midnight for the next morning thinking it’d be the last time I’d see my mother alive. She fought back… and in the extra time she’d willed into existence, we made some incredible memories. This was my favorite. Thank you @theemmaslater for such an exquisite routine and unwavering level of commitment. Thank you to everyone at @dancingabc for treating my mother like a star, and with such kindness. And thank you Mom and Dad – not just for believing in me when the odds were very much not in my favor, but also for arming me with those crazy athlete/dancer genes.

He added, “And a very special thank you to @tombergeron for something you don’t see on camera: As he looked over and saw my mom crying in the audience, he put a gentle hand on my back, nudging me to go over to her. I’m SO glad he did. The gift of that moment will always make me smile, even through tears. Both he and @erinandrews are not just true professionals, they brought a level of heart to #DancingWithTheStars that was so appreciated in the eye of that live, wild storm.”

Van Der Beek’s mom Melinda died in July 2020 at the age of 70. At the time, he posted a series of photos of her to Instagram, some of which were taken in the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom, and wrote that it still came as a huge shock to lose her.

“Even though we knew this was coming – and had actually thought we were at the end nearly a year and a half ago – I’m still in shock. I’m grateful she’s no longer in pain, I’m sad, I’m angry, I’m relieved… all at once and in different moments. Just trying to hold space and allow for it all,” wrote Van Der Beek.

He continued, “She was my mom. She gave me life. She taught me how to tumble. Drove me to my first auditions. She believed in me based on nothing but her own intuition and she passed on a craziness that has been crucial to not just my success, but my own personal happiness. I don’t know what the grieving/healing process looks or feels like from here on out… all I know is anytime my kids – or any of her students – want to dress up, or get on a stage, or dance, or even just think of her… they’ll have a little extra love from the other side backing them up.”

In another bit of tragedy that befell Van Der Beek that season, he was eliminated the night after his wife miscarried their unborn son. On the one-year anniversary of the loss, he posted a heartfelt tribute to Slater, the “Dancing With the Stars” judges and fellow contestant Ally Brooke, who wanted to give her spot in the finale to Van Der Beek as soon as she found out what he was going through.

He also said that he feels like his unborn son gave him the “grace” to get through that moment.

“This might sound crazy to some… but I feel like that was his gift to me. That was one of the things his soul came here to unlock: He gave me access to grace. And I share this because we’re all going through something – and for many of us it’s much more dire than a celebrity dance show – but the mystics talk about the cure being IN the disease… and whether or not that’s true in every situation, on behalf of the son I’ll only ever hold in my heart… I’d like to invite us all to the possibility that it just might be,” wrote Van Der Beek.

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