Brant Daugherty touched the hearts of “Dancing With the Stars” fans during Monday’s “Personal Stories” episode when he revealed how his father had encouraged his acting dreams – but then died of lymphoma in 2009 at age 57.
The “Pretty Little Liars” star candidly told reporters backstage after the show that there was much more to the story.
When Brant got back to his Ohio hometown to see him, his father was already in a medically-induced coma.
Sadly, Brant regrets that “our last conversation that he was awake and around for was on the phone and it was actually an argument, and I feel really terrible about that. I hate leaving things that way.
“Relationships aren’t perfect, and I had a lot of problems with my dad. We were very similar — we butted heads a lot.
“But at the end of the day, we were always there for each other,” he said.
Brant and “DWTS” partner Peta Murgatroyd earned a score of 27 (out of a possible 30) in Monday’s show for their soaring contemporary dance inspired by his father.
“I think he’d be proud of me for getting this far, for having such a beautiful young woman helping me out with it all. He’d probably be curious about why I wear so much makeup on stage,” Brant said in an interview with XfinityTV.
“One of the things that I really liked about our dance is, it wasn’t this whimsical, beautiful thing. It had angst in it and trouble and we really wanted to show that.”
The actor, who has impressed “DWTS” fans with his gracefulness this season, said of his father’s death, “It’s not something that I talk about very often. It definitely helps me in my career as an actor but I’ve never really told that story before. When they asked us about our most memorable year, I just really wanted to pay tribute to that because he made me who I am.”
Brant said his mother has a good support system back home in Cincinnati, with his brother and sister “and some grandkids living in the house. She’s got plenty on her plate to keep her busy and occupied.”
It was a night of high drama and emotion not just for Brant, but the entire celebrity cast. Here was what some of the other stars said backstage about their personal stories:
Amber Riley: The “Glee” star revealed on the show that she once worked at Ikea. After the show, the singer/actress told reporters it was a blast. “I really liked working at Ikea. One of my [former Ikea] co-workers is one of my best friends. She’s about to have a baby and my sister’s the godmom. That’s how close we are.” Amber also declared that assembling furniture “is relaxing!”
Jack Osbourne: The reality TV star told XfinityTV about what it was like to discuss his multiple sclerosis on the show. “It’s weird. When I talk about it with my friends conversationally, it’s fine, but when you’re being interviewed and it gets all very intense, it’s like being in therapy. [Producers] start pushing and pushing and pushing.” Jack was in tears during the interview that was seen on the show, and it’s no wonder: He said producers grilled him for an hour.
Bill Engvall: The Blue Collar comedian talked on the show about courting his wife Gail the old-fashioned way. Backstage, with dance partner Emma Slater by his side, he said, “My career has been about me, and she’s never once thrown it up, ‘Why do you gotta do this?’ So tonight was for her, and I was so happy the dance went off flawlessly. We nailed the dance.”
Leah Remini: The “King of Queens” star narrowly avoided elimination on Monday night — when she wound up in the Bottom Two with Christina Milian, who was eliminated. But before that drama, Leah discussed her widely reported decision to leave the Church of Scientology in her personal story. “This was full-on, Leah opening her heart and soul to the audience, to the judges, everybody!” her pro partner Tony Dovolani said after the show.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: “Any chance I get, I’ll talk about my son!” the “Jersey Shore” star exulted backstage after she was seen in rehearsal footage on the show telling her partner, Sasha Farber, that giving birth to Lorenzo a year ago changed her life. “He’s definitely running around now and he’s starting to talk a lot more and he’s really smart. I’m proud of him.”
Corbin Bleu: The “High School Musical” actor told “DWTS” viewers about how his sister, Phoenix, 12, suffers from scoliosis, and dedicated his dance with partner Karina Smirnoff to her. “I loved that, to be able to have the opportunity to relay that message to her on this grand of a scale. It’s so beautiful,” he told XfinityTV on the post-show red carpet.
“To have finished the number and to be able to go over and see the tears in her eyes and what it meant … I’ve never seen her like that.” Corbin said Phoenix had recently had a health setback when the curve in her spine grew more pronounced. “She grew out of the brace so she just got refitted for a new one. So now we’re going to see how that goes. She stays in the brace ‘til she’s 18, when the growth plates close,” her devoted brother explained.
Elizabeth Berkley: “Saved by the Bell” fans were thrilled that the actress decided to reenact her “I’m So Excited” caffeine pill-popping scene from the 1990s TV show in which she starred as a teen. Her jive with partner Val Chmerkovskiy brought the house down, and after the show, Elizabeth told XfinityTV that she catches episodes of “Saved by the Bell” while working out at the gym.
“Sometimes when I do cardio at the gym, it’ll come on,” she laughed. “And I’ll just kind of glance. I don’t put it on my little TV monitor because that would be weird but I catch it in the distance and I’m like, ‘Wow, I remember that day.’ It’s like looking at an old picture, but it’s moving. It’s like a yearbook.”