DWTS's Erin Andrews on Nerves, Needing a Change, and Those Pesky Romance Rumors

Erin Andrews has endured a rough year, one that keeps revealing difficult passages. The 31-year-old ESPN sportscaster's high-profile court case, where divorced father Michael David Barrett was eventually charged with filming Andrews through a peephole in her hotel rooms in several different states, ended in March as Barrett was sentenced to 30 months in prison. This month (and after our interview) it was revealed that Andrews had received death threats for over six months. Now, as Andrews waltzes and quicksteps on the 10th season of Dancing with the Stars, she talks with Movieline about moving on from the hellish court proceedings, finding new confidence, those romantic rumors with her dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the other ESPN personality she'd like to see on DWTS.

You've talked about using Dancing with the Stars as a way to rebound from all the horrifying court case drama. How is that going for you?

It's been great. You know, I wanted to surround myself with a family and a group of people that would be really supportive. Not that I didn't already have that, but I wanted a change. I wanted a different thing to channel my emotions with. So it's been wonderful.

Can you talk about the difference between this and your usual TV gig? The shift between the rigid, rehearsed nature of Dancing with the Stars and your more spontaneous ESPN sidelines stuff?

Yeah, my gosh. Well, I mean, I'm usually on in front of millions of people on TV, but I'm a pro doing it. That's my job, that's what I've studied to do. Here, you have the very humbling experience of putting yourself on in front of 25 million people and only getting a few days to learn something -- and trying to look fantastic while you do it. It's a lot different.

Do self-defeating thoughts creep into your head when you perform?

I think it's very humbling -- you become very self-conscious. You do your job in real life, you think you're pretty good at it. Then you go and do this, and you're like, "Why does my body not look like Cheryl Burke's when she dances? Why do I not look like Edyta when she dances?" You just feel totally out of your element.

Have you watched past seasons of the show? Do you have beacons of inspiration from past cycles?

Last year when I was watching the season that Kelly Osbourne was on, she did a Larry King Live interview when she was in the finals. She basically said how doing this show made her get so much confidence with herself, and it was just something she never had before. And I really thought that was so wonderful to hear from her. After I'd been through everything I'd done in the last nine months, I thought, I'm going to do this. I need something like this to help me get back on track.

Let's talk about last week's elimination. Describe your train of thought as you went from highly ranked judges' favorite to that scary results night.

I was actually calm, cool, and collected going into the night. Once people started being saved, and Max and I were standing out there, and we weren't, I sort of freaked out a little bit. I got really, really nervous. I didn't feel very well. Then we were in the last four couples standing, and I thought, "This isn't fun anymore. I don't like this."

Did you re-think your performance at all?

Not so much the performance, because I think I'm doing the best I can do. I think you're just rethinking, "Oh my Gosh, why did I do this to myself? Why did I put myself in this position?"

After Shannen Doherty was eliminated in a surprise twist, was there an outpouring of shock backstage?

I think everybody talked out about how really nerve-wracking it was. We were all really sad to see Shannen go. We all really liked her a lot. But we were all so happy that we were safe and coming back another week.

Was her elimination -- and your bottom-four placement -- ultimately discouraging?

I think it really, really proves how much people's votes at home really count. I had always heard that going into the show, but then when you see someone like Pam in the bottom two, it's like, "Whoa, I guess it really does count."

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