DWTS’ Derek Hough And Hayley Erbert Discuss Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss And Learning Of His Death After Their Scary Car Accident

Hayley Erbert and Derek Hough on Derek & Hayley x Dayley Life and Stephen "tWitch" Boss on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
(Image credit: YouTube/Warner Bros.)

The suicide of Stephen “tWitch” Boss shocked the entertainment world, especially the expansive dance community that included the casts of Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. The dancers were quick to rally around his widow Allison Holker in the days and weeks that followed the devastating loss. For Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert, their awareness of how fragile life is was already on their minds, and they recently opened up about learning about their friend’s death the day after being involved in a scary car accident.

Stephen Boss died by suicide on December 13 at a motel near the house he shared with DWTS and SYTYCD alum Allison Holker and their three children. A note left by The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s DJ referenced past “struggles.” Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert had just returned from the hospital, after a frightening incident that, according to an Instagram post at the time, involved a steep hill, icy roads and the fear they would slide off the mountain. Hough spoke to ET about learning about tWitch after that experience, saying: 

It was after the accident, the very next day we found out, so we were kind of coming off this traumatic experience that was already just, like, heightened. And then hearing about that was, um, I don't know honestly, it took a while to really sink in. I don't think I cried, like, with the accident and then with that on top of it, it took me, like, I think two days to, like, cry. You know, to really just let it all out 'cause I was holding on to so much and, you know, her with the history dancing with tWitch.

Derek Hough’s fiancée competed on Season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance, where she was paired with All-Star tWitch. Hayley Erbert said Stephen Boss’ legacy has been cemented, as evidenced by how many people were affected by him, in life and death. She told ET: 

His legacy is forever intact, especially [with] the dance community. Just a person who lived so beautifully and impacted so many. I think that when he did pass, I think that people were even surprised, like, 'Wow, look at how much he, how far he reached and impacted so many lives,' and I don't think that's going away anytime soon. We just love him, we love Allison and their beautiful family and yeah, we'll always be there for them any way we can.

As heartbreaking as it was for everyone to learn about tWitch’s death, it probably struck a different chord for the dancers so soon after their terrifying accident. Fellow Dancing with the Stars vets Sharna Burgess and Brian Austin Green also spoke about how losing Stephen Boss hit close to home, as they had previously committed to raising awareness of men’s mental health issues.

Stephen “tWitch” Boss was laid to rest in a private funeral in early January, and a celebration of the dancer’s life was held a month later. Allison Holker introduced the Move with Kindness Foundation — which aims to help “individuals facing adversity by serving as a source of support and inspiration” — in her husband’s memory.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of self-harm, please, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.