Former Dancing With The Stars pro, Tony Dovolani, 44, once quit the show mid-competition and returned the same day after controversy with his partner, Kate Gosselin, 44. In 2012 — season 14 of DWTS — Tony had enough when he realized his partner “wasn’t there for the right reasons.” In an EXCLUSIVE interview for HollywoodLife.com’s podcast, Tony revealed what we didn’t see play out in the media during that tumultuous time. “For me, I love dancing. I love what dancing does for people. It’s a happy sport, it’s a wonderful life that it’s created for me, and I just felt at that moment that she had done the show for the wrong reasons,” Tony explained of Kate. “She didn’t realize where she was at… I hadn’t signed up for that.”
The pro dancer, who was with the show for 22 seasons, admitted that things hit a level where he wasn’t just able to teach Kate. “When I decided to quit nothing major happened, it was just a build up of things where I just said that I didn’t sign up for this. — For babysitting, maybe, a little bit,” he said. “Some of these celebrities, or reality celebrities, I should say, they sometimes … they have an idea of what they think they are and who they are, and they didn’t realize that I wasn’t there to deal with them. I was there to teach them how to dance. So, when it becomes about other than teaching them how to dance, I want no part of it.”
“For me, it’s like when it comes to reality stars, I mean the word itself explains it. Reality star. Which means that you’re an interesting individual, character maybe … like the villain or somebody that you like. For me, I respect talent. I respect hard work.”
After Tony quit, he came back that same day and apologized to production. However, he was a pro who never complained, so producers were shocked to see him hit a point of [semi] no return. “It was one of these executive producer phone calls saying, ‘Please don’t leave. We’ll owe you. We’ll give you a better partner next year,'” he revealed.
While his experience with Kate wasn’t his most memorable or enjoyable one, there were partners who Tony adored. He spoke about his time coaching modeling legend, Kathy Ireland, 54, during season 9 in 2008. “Oh, Kathy Ireland, she is a mogul, and an inspiration to so many people,” he raved. “I mean, talking about a hard worker, I’ve never seen her stop. But the one thing that a lot of people don’t realize is how much charitable work she does.”
He also praised his other past partners, frenemies, NeNe Leakes, 50, and Kim Zolciak, 39. “It’s pretty amazing, actually. Those two have been friends, frenemies … whatever you want to call it, but I like them both,” he admitted. “They both brought something completely different. NeNe was a fun… Then, Kim, she’s a sweetheart.” Tony also partnered with Wendy Williams, 53, who he referred to as a “wonderful” person. “I’ve been to her show many times,” he said, adding, “I think she’s one of the most successful talk show hosts.”
HollywoodLife.com chatted with Tony who teamed up with Sunbeam. He is a big fan of the brand’s Renew neck wrap, which is a heat therapy remedy for the neck and shoulders.
HollywoodLifers, which of Tony’s partners was your favorite?Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.