Fans, judges, and fellow contestants of Dancing With the Stars were shocked when Selma Blair announced her early exit from the show – just after five performances. She had to bow out because of health concerns, particularly complications related to multiple sclerosis.
“I had these MRIs and the results came back and it just all adds up to I can’t go on with the competition,” Blair told her dance partner Sasha Farber in a pre-recorded rehearsal package. “With a chronic illness, you do need special considerations. My body is taking a hit.”
“It’s way too much for the safety of my bones,” she added. “There’s just intensive bone trauma and inflammation, among rips and tears, so I can do extensive damage that, of course, I do not want.”
Blair underwent an MRI scan on her knee a few days before her announcement. The doctor suggested that her rehearsal should not be weight-bearing.
“It wasn’t great, but nothing horrible,” she explained about the scan result. “But I realized, I’m not prepared for horrible. Leaving was horrible enough.”
She wrapped up her appearance in the competition with a waltz number to What the World Needs Now.
“Sometimes you make hard decisions, but I really want to have a last beautiful dance with you and bow out,” Blair said about her final performance. “This is a dance for everyone who had tried and hoped they could do more, but also the power in realizing when it’s time to walk away.”
Farber called her an inspiration, especially since he had been going through so much in his personal life. So in her own way, Blair helped him out too. He also described her as “a wonderful mother, an iconic actress, and a beautiful dancer now.”
She was diagnosed with MS in 2018.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic illness that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The immune system attacks the central nervous system, specifically the myelin sheath – the layer protecting the nerves. MS is highly unpredictable, affects patients differently, and causes a wide range of potential symptoms.
Blair already had the symptoms five years prior to her official diagnosis. She initially thought it was just a pinched nerve, and she never took it seriously until she fell down in front of a neurologist in Los Angeles, who also happened to be her friend’s brother.
In 2019, she revealed that she was undergoing chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant treatment.
Selma Blair was an early favorite.
When Blair was introduced as one of the contestants of the popular reality series, she quickly became a fan favorite. Her heartwarming and inspirational story, along with her graceful dance moves, made everyone tune in to her performances. Blair exuded elegance even as she powered through the difficulties she faced while she battled MS.
In one episode, Blair danced blindfolded to For Your Eyes Only in honor of her late mother. The 50-year-old actress recalled how she and her mom used to sing and dance to the song.
The reason behind the blindfold was to prevent sensory overload due to her MS. Even though it seemingly made the dance more challenging, it was actually comforting to her.
It was a moving final performance.
There was not a dry eye in the studio during Blair’s final dance in DWTS. Even audiences at home were moved to tears. During the post-show press conference, Blair revealed that she actually wanted to try a contemporary dance, but it would’ve been more stressful to her body.
She also acknowledged how dancing helped her physically.
“This was a real immersion therapy,” she told the press. “On one side, I had a bone overload, but on the other side, I had total gains—much less drop foot and I can calm down a lot better now when confronted with a new task.”
It won’t be the last time fans will see her take the dance floor, though, because Derek Hough promised that he’ll bring her back for the season finale of DWTS. Not only that but he will also choreograph a number for the two of them. Now that’s something to look forward to!
Selma Blair is an inspiration.
She spent weeks learning how to perform different ballroom dance styles. For someone with MS, it wasn’t just taxing to her body but also to her mind. This is what made her performances more impressive.
It was quite a feat – physically, emotionally, and mentally. From learning to executing, each dance was clearly daunting.
Several viewers suffering from chronic diseases deeply understood Blair’s distress and could relate to her on so many levels. This is why her DWTS journey will remain an inspiration to many long after this sudden exit from the show.