You couldn't make this stuff up. Week after week, bombshells explode on the Dancing with the Stars ballroom floor: Jane Seymour's mother dies. Marie Osmond collapses. Jennifer Lopez's grandmother passes. Gloria Estefan's mother becomes critically ill. Seymour ends up in the emergency room with suspected food poisoning. And now, Osmond's father dies.
Last week, executive producer Conrad Green thought the worst was over when Jane recovered from her trip to the hospital. "It's been a turbulent season, but I think we're at the end of it now." Not quite. The headlines just keep coming.
"I got a call very early this morning," said Osmond's pro partner, Jonathan Roberts, just hours before the show. "And we both agreed that family is the most important thing. So she's in Utah today with her family." You can hear the sadness in his voice. Like every other couple on this show, these two have become great friends. "I'm going to be on the dance floor alone tonight and that's not the way I want it to be," says Roberts. "Ballroom dancing is supposed to have two people in it."
Osmond escaped elimination and will stay in the competition. Roberts will fly to Utah early Wednesday morning. "She's already spoken to me about wanting to rehearse and looking forward to getting some of her emotions out in the dancing," he says.
The timing of George Osmond's passing on Tuesday morning was remarkable. On Monday night, Osmond had dedicated her high-scored quickstep to her mother (who died in 2004) and father, who was 90 years old.
"Did you know that she and her father shared the same birth date?" asks Roberts. "We were talking about going out to see him this week because the dance was something special for her mom and dad. She talked to him [Monday] afternoon and told him, 'Dad, we're doing a dance for you tonight, and I want to dedicate it to you and Mom.' It was very good that it happened."
Did her father get to see it? "Yes," says Roberts. "He watched her dance and friends said that he was really happy on Monday night."
Jane Seymour knows all about dancing through the pain. The competition helped her cope with her mother's passing last month. And when she was eliminated Monday night, and the cameras stopped rolling, her husband, director James Keach, held her and spoke to her quietly. He's been in the audience almost every night, fiercely proud. "I want her to take the whole thing," he said weeks ago, when it was clear that she could be a contender. The show, says Seymour, "has brought us even closer together."
Seymour also says she's felt her mother's presence throughout the competition. "I look upon this as a gift that my mother gave when she passed," says Seymour. "When anything happens now that's tough to deal with, I just know that if I keep myself open, good things will come out of it."
Seymour says that Dancing has given her a new lease on life. For the first time in years, she can get out of bed in the morning without back pain. And she's 20 pounds lighter. "I was 128 before I started, which was heavy for me," says Seymour. "That's a good seven or eight pounds heavier than I ever like to be. Now I'm 108. And it's all muscle."
Just last week, Seymour's pro partner, Tony Dovolani, caught her looking at her legs in the mirror. "Jane has always hated her legs," says Dovolani. "And she said, 'Whose legs are these?'" Says Seymour: "I love my legs now. I never highlighted them or my backside. You can look at my films. You hardly ever see me wear jeans. Ever. That's why [on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman] it was always big prairie skirts."
And now? "Now they're working, they're working quite fast and furiously and doing things that I never believed they could do. And I'm like, wow, how did that happen?"
Dovolani knows how it happened: ballroom dance. What viewers probably don't know is that Dovolani has dropped 14 pounds, too. "With Sara Evans," he says, "I was 180 pounds. With Lisa Gibbons, 175. Now I'm 166, because when I started with Jane, I noticed that she was much tinier than my other partners, so I decided to lose a little bit of weight. But she started losing weight, too, so right now, we're rails!"
Dovolani says he's promised Seymour to continue teaching her whenever he's in Los Angeles. "I'm so proud of her," he says. "She became a dancer."
Watch Seymour, Osmond and other Dancing with the Stars contestants in our Online Video Guide.
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