Former Dancing With the Stars host Tom Bergeron is the utmost professional — but even the most stoic professionals can always keep their emotions in check. In a recent interview, Bergeron opened up about the day his dad died and having to go on with hosting Dancing With the Stars right after he found out.
Bergeron reflected on how hard that was and how co-host Erin Andrews was his rock that day.
Bergeron Didn’t Tell Hardly Anyone That His Father Had Died
Back in 2015, Bergeron’s father became ill and Bergeron missed one Dancing With the Stars show to be by his father’s side. Bergeron told author Vicki Abelson in a recent podcast interview that his plan had been to host the subsequent week’s show, then fly back to his father’s side. But his dad died the day of the show, on Monday, October 12, 2015. Because it was a show day, Bergeron didn’t want to tell anyone because he wanted to try to keep himself together long enough to get through the show.
“When my dad passed … I’ll tell you, Erin Andrews was one of the few people who knew because it was on a show day,” recalled Bergeron. “Erin was one of the only people who knew that he had died. I had missed the previous week’s show and Alfonso [Ribeiro] had filled in for me because I wanted to be at my dad’s bedside. It was the only show I missed in the time I was with them.”
“It was funny because, at the start of the show, I thanked the viewers for all the lovely messages they had sent me through social media about me missing the previous week. I didn’t want to mention that he had died because I thought I’d lose it,” said Bergeron. “I got through the whole show. At one point during a commercial one of the cameramen had found out, who I was particularly close to, and he came up to give me a hug and I went, ‘No, not yet! Not yet!'”
Bergeron Said He Kept It Together Until The Very End
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) October 5, 2015
Bergeron did fine, putting his head down and just getting through the show, focusing on that. But at the end of the show, he wanted to say something and that’s when the emotions overcame him.
“We were thanking everybody … I said you know, my dad loved the show, he watched every episode and I’d like to think somewhere he’s watching this one and they put up a full card tribute to him. And Erin and I went to my dressing room and wept … She was a rock, she had my back,” said Bergeron.
He said it was interesting to be able to stay in his “performance head,” i.e. hold himself together throughout the entire show.
“I was able to hold it at bay until right at that moment … I had kept the emotions at bay and the moment I unlocked it a little bit to at least acknowledge it on the air, then I just had to get back to my dressing room,” said Bergeron. “[Erin] was a rock.”
Tragically, Bergeron’s mother Kay died just four months later. He announced the sad news on Twitter, sharing a photo of himself with his parents and writing, “Four months apart. Together forever.”
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) March 5, 2016
4 months ago my Mom lost the love of her life. Now we've gathered at her bedside. They never did like being apart. pic.twitter.com/PL7ihAw1c1
— Tom Bergeron (@Tom_Bergeron) March 4, 2016
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.