A DWTS Pro Opens Up About ‘Heartbreaking’ Loss

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In September 2019, professional dancer Julianne Hough lost her two dogs, Lexi and Harley. She didn’t post about it on social media for several weeks while she grieved and then eventually she told her fans about her loss. In a recent interview on Danica Patrick’s podcast, Hough opened up about the loss, including the nightmares she used to have about how they died.


Hough Took A Long Time to Grieve

In the interview, the former Dancing With the Stars pro said that in 2019, she had been going along in such a good place and then the loss hit her like a ton of bricks.

“I was so clear and then I lost my girls and that suffering hit in and that grief and then I went through a separation,” said Hough, who split from husband Brooks Laich in May 2020; their divorce was finalized in November 2020.

Hough said she was reeling from those losses and her inclination is to isolate from people when she’s hurting, which only made things worse.

“I isolate when I’m feeling bad, so then I felt a loss from family and friends, so that clarity that I had … I would punish myself for not being there again. But I’m like no, this is part of [grieving]. It’s another cycle, it’s another layer of ‘I’ve never felt this kind of grief before,'” said Hough.

She also said it took a monumental event like her dogs’ deaths to wake her up out of her so-called “happy” existence to realize that she had a lot of things to work through.

“I thought I was [so happy]. I lived like this — f***, was I positive and that got me so far, but that’s why I’m worried about my health. I’m so tired. I’m literally so tired … I was literally trying to fit in this tiny little perfect box of ‘I have to always stay positive, I have to make sure everybody else is good.’ And [the box] started opening and I was like, ‘Nobody’s gonna like me. My personality is gone, I am boring,'” said Hough.

Patrick suggested that it started as a whisper, which became a scream, which became an earthquake — “it took an earthquake.”

“It did and it was a heartbreaking one. I had them for 11 and eight years. I would have nightmares about how they died and they died that same way,” said Hough.

The Hough family has been mum about what happened to Lexi and Harley. Commenters on their social media posts have speculated it was coyotes.


Hough Thought of Her Dogs Like Her Children

When she revealed to her fans that Lexi and Harley had died, Hough thanked them for being her “babies” in an emotional Instagram post:

Pure love is real, it existed through us. My heart expanded and felt the truth of what is possible. I am forever grateful. Thank you for your love. Thank you for being my babies, my daughters. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for teaching me how to be your mother. Thank you for allowing me to give and receive love. Thank you for your kisses. Thank you for your blessings every single minute of every single day. Thank you for your souls. Thank you for protecting me. Thank you for letting me protect you. Thank you for protecting each other. Thank you for the timeless memories. Thank you for your magic. Thank you for being the most consistent and constant beings in my life. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my guardians on this earth and even more so now. I’ve never experienced a love like ours. I miss you, I love you forever.

Her brother Derek Hough posted a similarly loving piece on Instagram, a photo of their collars captioned, “I honestly don’t know what to say except that these two creations brought so many beautiful memories into our families lives for the past 11 years. Their abrupt end was tragic, but their memory will always be remembered with joy, love, and happiness.”

Dancing With the Stars has not yet officially been renewed for season 30, but if ABC does renew it, expect it to premiere in September 2021.

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