Ryan Lochte Reacts to ‘DWTS’ Protesters: It Felt Like Someone Ripped My Heart Out

Drama in the ballroom. Ryan Lochte and his Dancing With the Stars pro partner, Cheryl Burke, appeared visibly shaken after two men rushed the stage following their performance on the season 23 premiere Monday, September 12.

As previously reported, the men — and some women in the audience — wore anti-Lochte T-shirts during the ABC show. They interrupted filming, shouting that Lochte, 32, was a liar, in response to his Rio robbery controversy. Security guards tackled the men and fellow pro Derek Hough came out from backstage and yelled at the women to leave. All of the hecklers were kicked out.

ABC

Per ABC News, the suspects, L.A. residents Sam Sotoodeh, 48, and Barzeen Soroudi, 40, were booked for trespassing.

Lochte and Burke, 32, who just returned to the series after two years, opened up about the scary incident in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

"Slowly, slowly been able to breathe," the Olympic swimmer said. "Honestly, it felt like someone just reached inside, took my heart out and tore it to shreds. I was really hurt when I saw that, and I was in shock. But I looked at Cheryl, and she just smiled and said, 'You just did what you said you can't do. You danced in front of millions.' And I was like, 'You're right.'"

He added: "I'm gonna keep moving forward and put this behind me, and I'm gonna better myself every day …"

Ingrid Meilin

Lochte and Burke received plenty of support following the situation. "We are nothing if not a country of second acts and second chances," host Tom Bergeron said during the broadcast.

Burke stuck up for her partner too. "I’m shocked and hurt for Ryan," she told Bergeron. "He’s an amazing guy. He’s great, he’s kind and he’s just here working his butt off and trying to do what he’s supposed to be doing, which is dancing. So I hope people give him a chance."

Watch all of the DWTS drama in the video above.

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