Spreading kindness. Ally Brooke warmed hearts across America when she volunteered to be eliminated from Dancing With the Stars on Monday, November 18, instead of James Van Der Beek, who announced moments earlier that his wife, Kimberly Van Der Beek, recently suffered a miscarriage. However, the ABC series does not allow a contestant to hand over his or her place in the competition to a fellow competitor.
“I just felt it wasn’t right after everything that James has gone through,” the “Low Key” singer, 26, explained to Us Weekly and other reporters after the semifinals episode. “Being human and seeing that he’s been through one of the worst things in life … I felt like he had the strength to be here today, and that in itself is unbelievable and that took immense strength from him.”
Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli all voted to save Brooke and her pro partner, Sasha Farber. After offering to give away her spot in the finale, a visibly emotional Brooke leaned over to chat with the Dawson’s Creek alum, 42, and his partner, Emma Slater.
“He was just like, ‘I can’t accept that’ and ‘It’s very, very kind,’” she revealed after the show. “He said, ‘Just enjoy it.’ Sasha and I talked to him afterwards as well and I tried to offer again and I talked to him on my own, and he was just like, ‘No, please, you just enjoy it and you shine and don’t be afraid to shine.’ [Those] are the exact words he told me, and I’m taking that in. Even though I’m very sad and in a way feel like I shouldn’t be here, I’m trying to celebrate too [for] my personal journey.”
Brooke commended James for offering words of encouragement to her after his surprising exit, telling reporters that his reaction “just shows the type of character he is and the spirit he has.” She went on to call the actor “one of the most magnificent, unbelievable people I’ve ever met in my life.”
For his part, Farber, 35, told Us that being in the bottom two and facing off against his wife, Slater, 30, and James “was absolutely horrible.” He added, “You couldn’t write a worse horror movie than that.”
Slater, meanwhile, said that she told James she “was just really sorry” about their elimination. She became emotional as she spoke with reporters about feeling like she was not able to protect her partner.
“I think he’s not one to get defeated,” she said. “He’s got a very, very good head on his shoulders. He knows what’s important. He’s been through so much in his life and also recently, obviously. I think that put it into perspective. This is a dance show and, yes, I know that he’s upset and disappointed, but at the same time he’s an extremely smart, level-headed man and … he would be good at coping with things and dealing with things. And he’s the first person to offer up advice, so I hope he’s taking his own advice.”
James announced before his second dance on Monday’s episode that Kimberly, 37, had miscarried. The news came one month after the couple told viewers that they were expecting their sixth child.
“The little soul that we had expected to welcome into our family took a shortcut to whatever lies beyond,” he said in a video package. “You never know why these things happen.”
The Van Der Beeks share Olivia, 9, Joshua, 7, Annabel, 5, Emilia, 3, and Gwendolyn, 17 months.
On Tuesday, November 29, James wrote on Instagram that he is “SO proud” of Brooke for making it to the finals. In response, she wrote, “Thank you @vanderjames. As heartbroken as I am, I’m going to continue on for you James, and take your advice to keep shining. I’m so blessed and thankful to have met you and call you a friend. It is such an honor to know a man like you. God bless you.”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
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