Actor Selma Blair had “one last gentle dance” on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday night after recent health concerns forced her early exit.
In a video leading up to her final performance, Blair, who revealed in 2018 that she has multiple sclerosis, said that recent MRI results are the reason for her sudden departure, which came just a month after the season premiere.
“The results came back, and it just all adds up to I can’t go on with the competition,” she said in a tearful conversation with her dance partner, Sasha Farber. She went on to say that “special considerations” must be made when it comes to chronic illnesses such as hers and that her “body is definitely taking a hit.”
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an “unpredictable disease” that impacts the central nervous system, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It impacts the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves and can cause the body to suddenly experience numbness, tingling and pain among many other symptoms. Since her diagnosis, Blair has often used a cane to help her walk.
“There’s just intensive bone trauma and inflammation among rips and tears,” she said in the video. “So I could do extensive damage that, of course, I do not want. I’ll have to settle in and get back to being a mom and showing them I have to pull back on something that I love doing.”
Before she left, she said she wanted “one last gentle dance” on the show — one dedicated to “everyone that has tried and hoped that they could do more but also the power in realizing when it’s time to walk away.”
Dancing the waltz to “What the World Needs Now is Love,” she and Farber brought all of the other dancers on the show, as well as the judges and the audience, to tears. The beautiful performance got a perfect score — 10s across the board — as the judges commended Blair for her grace, both on and off the screen.
“This competition is tough for everyone, but if the others have climbed hills, you have climbed mountains,” judge Len Goodman said.
Carrie Ann Inaba, who was previously a co-host on CBS’ “The Talk,” said that watching Blair every week “has been like watching a living, breathing, elegantly dancing miracle.”
“You have brought so much awareness for people who struggle with chronic illness, who deal with chronic pain,” she said through tears. “You have been nothing but an inspiration and a light to all of us, especially showing other people how anything is possible. … You are a blessing and a gift.”
In an emotional interview with “Entertainment Tonight” after the show, with her son Arthur Saint Bleick by her side, Blair said that she didn’t know she “wouldn’t be able to stop” crying during her final performance.
“I will truly miss loving them. I love these dancers. I love these celebrities. I love Sasha,” she said as her son hugged her. “… It’s a lot of love and to walk away, to have to let the love continue without you, it’s like ugh.”
And while she has to step away from the show for her health and well-being, she said that joining the show has only helped her improve physically.
“I’m so much better, and I would have never had the motivation to push myself in that way if it weren’t for this kind of thing with Sasha,” she said.