A “Dancing With the Stars” alum recently opened up about her time on the show — and expressed just how nervous she was performing in front of a live audience — and with cameras filming her every move.
On the November 20, 2023, episode of the “Sex, Lies, and Spray Tans” podcast, Leah Remini chatted with host Cheryl Burke about her time as part of the season 17 cast.
“‘What goes on behind [the scenes] is so interesting,'” Remini recalled telling producer Deena Katz. “Between, like, people freaking out, getting pep talks by their pros. I mean, how many times did I cry in Tony [Dovolani’s] arms, like, ‘I don’t want to go out there. I’m going to forget everything!'” she recalled.
Remini expressed having a lot of anxiety on the show and struggling once she got on to the dance floor. She and Dovolani finished in 5th place and were eliminated just ahead of the finals. “Glee” star Amber Riley and her pro partner Derek Hough won the Mirrorball Trophy that season.
Here’s what you need to know:
Leah Remini Has Opened Her Own Dance Studio
Since her time on “Dancing With the Stars,” Remini has fostered her love of dance a couple of different ways. For example, she went on to be a guest judge on the show as well as a full-time judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“I love dancing, I love dancers, I love dance shows, I love artists. I got a dance studio,” she told ET in 2022 after backlash over her casting on the show.
Indeed, Remini does have her own dance studio. During her interview with Burke, she shared that she has really dedicated her time to dance.
“I’ve built my own studio. I have dance teachers,” Remini said. And while she admits that she loves dancing, she also maintains that she doesn’t “love performing.” Meanwhile, Burke said that Remini is “so good” at dance now and that if there was ever an All-Star season Remini would crush the competition.
“You would freakin’ kill it, Leah!” Burke said.
Leah Remini Previously Admitted Being ‘Scared’ to Join ‘Dancing With the Stars’
Remini admits being hesitant to join “Dancing With the Stars” out of fear.
“I really was living in a place of fear. I do things that I’m comfortable with… but if you’re never stretching yourself, you’re never really growing,” she told Digital Spy in 2013. She went on to explain what finally made her sign on the dotted line.
“I always said no to the show, and then I was like – you know with what I had done – I was like, I need to start doing things that I’m scared of, and this is the time to do it,” she continued. “I think it’s been hard, but it’s also been a time of growth for me and I found new strength and I found new friends and it’s been really great actually,” she commented.
Meanwhile, in her 2023 interview with Burke, Remini said that doing the show was really therapeutic for her in many ways. She had recently left the Church of Scientology and recalled feeling like she was losing her sense of community. She told Burke that the DWTS cast was exactly what she needed at that time in her life.
Remini is very good friends with Burke and is still in touch with Dovolani, whom she considers a close friend, too.