Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars was only hours away from premiering when news broke that contestant Christie Brinkley wouldn't be competing after all. The 65-year-old supermodel is out of the running for the 2019 mirrorball trophy. While losing a member of the cast so soon (and not the most divisive one) before the premiere might be a cause for execs to panic on other shows, this is far from the first time Dancing with the Stars has faced the problem of a star no longer being able to dance.
There's no question of Christie Brinkley being able to compete in Season 28, even if she was willing to power through any pain. As she said via Instagram, she broke her arm "into a 1000 pieces requiring surgery with a metal plate and screws to hold my arm together." Brinkley was apparently "having a blast" before the injury, so it's a shame that she had to quit. Still, she shared some good news: daughter Sailor Brinkley (a model herself) will dance in her mom's place.
So, what other celebs have had to drop out over the years, and what were the circumstances? Keep on scrolling to find out!
Tamar Braxton (Season 21)
R&B singer/reality TV star Tamar Braxton had to withdraw from Dancing with the Stars during Season 21 despite a strong partnership with dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy. After visiting the hospital following a performance on Dancing with the Stars, she learned that she did not have pneumonia as she believed, but rather blood clots in both sides of her lungs. Her health was of paramount importance, so she dropped out of the TV show.
Kim Zolciak-Biermann (Season 21)
Season 21 saw the premature departure of another hopeful in addition to Tamar Braxton. Reality TV star Kim Zolciak-Biermann also had to withdraw due to a health issue. She suffered a series of mini strokes following a Dancing with the Stars performance. She gave a statement at the time that she hoped the strokes would not "be the end of dancing," but it was not to be. Zolciak-Biermann technically didn't have a choice about withdrawing; she was unable to return for the third week of competition to dance with partner Tony Dovolani, and that resulted in disqualification.
Billy Dee Williams (Season 18)
Billy Dee Williams, best known for his role as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars saga beginning with The Empire Strikes Back, began his own quest for the mirrorball trophy with pro partner Emma Slater back in Season 18. Williams, who'd already had two hip replacements by this point, was suffering from chronic back pain and had been warned by his doctor not to dance. Dancing with the Stars was "an epic part" of Williams, according to the actor himself (via EW).
Dorothy Hamill (Season 16)
Olympic figuring skating champion Dorothy Hamill joined Dancing with the Stars for a very different kind of performing in Season 16, with Tristan MacManus as her partner, but she was not to be a champion this time. She was suffering from nerve damage in her right leg and back when she began to dance for Dancing with the Stars. She explained her reasons for withdrawing as due to her injuries, saying that it would not be "fair" to the show and other dancers if she'd stayed on.
Tom DeLay (Season 9)
Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay wasn't a star of stage or screen when he joined Dancing with the Stars, and he wasn't destined to take the mirrorball trophy with partner Cheryl Burke. He competed on Dancing with the Stars with two fractured feet due to sustained stress fractures from the dancing. When off the dance floor, he had to wear foot braces, and he was encouraged by doctors and producers to withdraw before finally deciding it was time to pull out.
Nancy O'Dell (Season 8)
TV host Nancy O'Dell was slated to compete in the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars, and she knew how to conduct herself on the small screen. Unfortunately for her, she had to give up on any dreams of taking the mirrorball trophy that year after she tore the meniscus in her knee in not one but two places, and she would require surgery. She was partnered with pro dancer Tony Dovolani before having to withdraw.
Jewel (Season 8)
Another hopeful for the mirrorball trophy was singer Jewel in Season 8 of Dancing with the Stars. In her case, she never even got to take the stage as a dancer. She withdrew from competition in the eighth season before it could premiere due to injuries sustained while training. Jewel was diagnosed with a fractured tibia in both legs. Season 8 was set to feature both Jewel and husband Ty Murray as competitors; Jewel dropping out meant that she could support her husband without competing against him.
Misty May-Treanor (Season 7)
Misty May-Treanor may have been a gold medal-winner in Olympic beach volleyball, but she was not the winner when it came to the mirrorball trophy in Dancing with the Stars Season 7. While rehearsing on the Friday before a Monday night filming, she sustained an injury to her Achilles tendon that required surgery. She made the announcement herself on screen, leaning on crutches and with her leg in a cast. At least she'll always have those Olympic medals!
Sara Evans (Season 3)
Season 3 saw one of the first celeb early departures of the entire series, although not due to injury. Country music singer Sara Evans was set to dance with Tony Dovolani, but she decided to leave Dancing with the Stars after filing for divorce from her husband. She left the show to spend time with her family, and that meant no mirrorball for her.
Romeo (Season 2)
Rapper Romeo was slated to dance for the chance to take the mirrorball trophy all the way back in Season 2, but he was knocked out of the lineup after he sustained an injury. He was replaced on the show by his music mogul dad, Master P, who was eliminated fourth in 2006. Romeo did get a second chance at a Dancing with the Stars championship when he competed in Season 12 with partner Chelsie Hightower. Though he didn't win in Season 12 either, he respectably came in fifth.
Hopefully Dancing with the Stars will proceed without injury for any of the celebs or the professional dancers! It's too bad for Christie Brinkley that she was seriously injured and had to drop out, but maybe her daughter has what it takes to win. Season 28 is (almost) anybody's game at this point, so be sure to tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET to see what happens in new episodes of Dancing with the Stars in the stacked fall TV lineup.
Resident of One Chicago, Bachelor Nation, and Cleveland. Has opinions about crossovers, Star Wars, and superheroes. Will not time travel.
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