Being cast on Dancing With the Stars’ 28th season proved to be beneficial to both James Van Der Beek and his five children with wife Kimberly Van Der Beek, according to his former partner Emma Slater.
“James sends me videos of his kids dancing to our songs that we performed on the show, and he just sent me one yesterday actually of Annabel, his middle daughter,” the pro dancer, 30, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Dancing With the Stars – Live Tour 2020 rehearsals on Monday, December 16. “She was dancing to our Viennese waltz song, ‘I Put a Spell on You.’ She had a costume on. I feel like the show was really good for James and I know that this is what he wanted.”
Slater continued, “He was able to show his kids that life is so creative and so beautiful and you’ve got to put yourself out there and open doors and not be afraid to try something that you’re not necessarily used to. I think that rather than him just telling his kids that they have to do that, he was able to show them by doing the show.”
The England native noted that she was aware of how much the ABC series “meant” to the 42-year-old Dawson’s Creek alum, and added that his children — Olivia, 9, Joshua, 7, Annabel, 5, Emilia, 3, and Gwendolyn, 18 months — got “ignited” and “so excited” by it. “I really feel like doing the show meant something so much bigger than dancing to James,” she added.
While competing with Slater, James made it to the top 5 pairs. However, the dancing duo were eliminated in fifth place last month after the actor announced that Kimberly, 37, miscarried what would have been their sixth child. In confirming the upsetting news, James tearfully shared on the episode of his elimination that the couple “went through every expectant parent’s worst nightmare” when they “lost” their baby.
“The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond,” he continued to explain on the November 18 episode. “You never know why these things happen. That’s what I’ve been telling my kids.”
Slater revealed that the Van Der Beeks are doing “very great” following the miscarriage news. Though she noted that it “did take a while for James to kind of adjust” to a dance-free schedule post-elimination, she pointed out that there was a “silver lining” to her and the Varsity Blues star not moving forward in the competition.
“Kimberly, his wife, who is still recovering, even now, really did need to have some family time,” Slater told Us on Monday. “She would have liked to have seen her husband in the finale, she wanted him to do the samba. I think the silver lining was that getting him to be at home was so healing for her.”
The Dancing With the Stars: Live! – 2020 tour kicks off next year in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday, January 9. Hannah Brown, Kel Mitchell and Ally Brooke are some of season 28’ s contestants that will be joining the show’s pro dancers on the road. Tickets are on sale now.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe