Hannah Brown kept it together on the Monday, October 28, episode of Dancing With the Stars but shed tears behind the scenes, a source exclusively tells Us Weekly. And the former Bachelorette star opened up about her “disconnect” in an emotional Instagram post the following day.
“Hannah was crying a lot last night offstage,” the source says, adding that it seemed like the 25-year-old was upset about “more than just the show” but that it was unclear what was wrong.
The Miss Alabama USA 2018 opened up about her state of mind on Instagram on Tuesday, October 29. “This experience has been harder than I could have ever imagined,” she wrote. “When I decided to do DWTS I thought it would be a fun way to channel all my energy after a whirlwind experience as the Bachelorette. I was hopeful that the confidence I gained this year to take pride in the woman I have become would have the opportunity to shine, and I’d feel that reboot in my spirit after it took a bit of a beating after my Bachelorette season.”
But the ABC dancing competition only added more pressure, she explained: “I came into this experience a little broken and confused—more than I’ve shared. Everyday has brought its challenges with my past, my fears, and the uncomfortableness of opening myself up again to be judged on something VERY scary like learning a new skill to perform each week. Last night was really defeating for me and a lot of suppressed emotions started to surface from this amazing, but grueling experience.”
Brown got tough love from DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba on Monday’s show. “You are disconnected from the movements. I need you to give your heart,” Inaba, 51, told the reality star. “We want to see layers that nobody has seen before and I know it’s hard to do but, I swear, if you open up and let it go raw out here, we will be here for you.”
Alan Bersten, Brown’s dancing partner, agreed with Inaba’s assessment. “Hannah is incredible but she’s a bit insecure and I’ve been working so hard to get it,” the 25-year-old said. “She has no reason to be insecure. She is such a beautiful, hardworking person.”
In her Instagram post on Tuesday, Brown wrote that she wants to show her authentic self. “I want to be me. I want to be real. I feel my best when I feel like I have the opportunity to share my heart with others. But I know that’s been lacking in what has been seen on DWTS. It’s true there is a disconnect. I am busting my ass. I am giving this my all. It’s my focus and passion right now. But each week I fall flat. I’ve gotten to the point of being so anxious before I perform that I can’t completely enjoy it like I wish and know I could.”
“I KNOW I have a lot more I can give,” she added. “I want to be able to feel free and confident to dance with my whole heart. I’m working on getting there.”
The reality star assured fans that she’s not throwing a pity party. “I can take criticism and understand hard work … and I also know that my attitude has to change to rise above this slump I’m in,” she wrote. “But this is real life. These are real emotions. It’s okay to be grateful and positive, while also acknowledging the hard days we all have. It’s so important to think positively, but it’s also important to acknowledge and feel all the feels. This pressure to pretend is not good for anyone. That’s how this crazy cycle of perfectionism continues to exist in a lot of us.
She ended the post by thanking those cheering her on. “I’m blown away by the support I see and feel from all of you who love me through it all. So thank you— here’s to another opportunity to grow. See y’all next Monday!”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.