DWTS Champ’s Family Didn’t Want Her to Compete on the Show: ‘You Are Crazy’

Derek and Julianne Hough.

Heavy/Getty A DWTS champ was advised not to do the show.

A “Dancing With the Stars” champ almost didn’t compete on her season of the competition — and she’s sharing the reasons why.

On the June 1, 2023, episode of the “Informed Pregnancy” podcast, Rumer Willis revealed that she agreed to join the show “a year or two” before she got sober.

“Everyone in my life was like, ‘do not do this show. You are crazy. Like, you’ve never danced before. Don’t do this,'” Willis said with a laugh. “And, I don’t know. There was something about it where… I love a challenge. Like, if I’m given a challenge or something to rise to the occasion to, I would say nine times out of 10, I do,” she continued, explaining her decision to go forward with the opportunity.

Willis went on to say that she can really “thrive” in situations that challenge her, “especially” if she’s learning something new.

Here’s what you need to know:

Rumer Willis Says Practicing for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Was the ‘Craziest Thing’ She’s Ever Done to Her Body, Physically, Excluding Pregnancy

Willis was partnered with Valentin Chmerkovskiy for season 20, and they practiced their routines — a lot. Willis recalled dancing six to eight hours per day, which she thought was the “craziest thing” she’d put her body through.

“It was incredible. I loved it. I was learning a new skill. I felt like I was doing something that was completely my own, that had no attachment to my family. And something that I didn’t think I would be good at. And, then out of nowhere, I was,” she said on the “Informed Pregnancy” podcast. “And I ended up winning,” Willis said, laughing.

Willis previously opened up about winning “Dancing With the Stars” and said that it really changed her as a person. She knew what it felt like to have low self esteem and she sent a message out to anyone who may have been struggling.

“You know, I hope that it stands for all of that and for anyone who didn’t think that they deserved to do something, or couldn’t do something, or wasn’t capable. That is who I think that [this trophy] is for,” she told Us Weekly after her win in 2015.

“I feel like I’m a completely different person than the person that he met,” she said, referring to Chmerkovskiy. “He kept asking if I really wanted to do this. [But now, to be] able to stand proudly and put your whole self on the dance floor, and just show who you are and have such a positive response. To see how many people came up to us and were so excited for us — that we won — I think speaks volumes,” she added.

In December 2022, Willis celebrated being six years of sobriety.

Rumer Willis’ Confidence Soared While She Was on the Show

Although Willis says she didn’t have any prior dance experience, she was determined to put her best foot forward and to make herself proud.

As she got further in to the competition, she became way more confident — but it seems as though she may have had a feeling that she was going to go far after her very first dance. In an interview with “Good Morning America’s” Cameron Mathison, the then 26-year-old said that she didn’t feel like she and Chmerkovskiy had “a lot of competition.”

“I don’t feel we have a lot of competition. I’m really confident … I think that the heart that both of us have and will put into each dance, regardless of the scores — to me, at least — was most important,” she told the outlet.

These days, Willis is testing another newly acquired skill: motherhood. She gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Louetta, in April 2023. “You are pure magic,” she captioned a baby announcement on Instagram. Her former dance partner popped up in the comments to congratulate her.

“Congrats to you both! Enjoy the beautiful times ahead, you’re gonna love it,” Chmerkovskiy wrote.

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