During the broadcast, the singer opened up about her involvement in a fatal car accident as part of a video presentation about the contestants’ most difficult times.
“I was trying to hold back tears, of course, because I was onstage while they were playing [the footage],” Brandy told PEOPLE after Monday’s show. “But I thought that it was put together well, and I got my story across.”
The video showed Brandy, her family and friends like singers Monica, Whitney Houston and Kelly Rowland discussing the difficulty the singer faced after a four-car accident on a Los Angeles freeway in 2006 left another female driver dead.
“Just to see my family and be supportive of me and Whitney Houston and all that felt really good,” Brandy said of the video. “There’s a lot of people out there who go through hard times, and they feel alone. They feel like nobody is there. But I’m in the same boat.”
After the show, Brandy’s family – parents Willie and Sonja Norwood and brother Ray J – and her friend Monica spoke with PEOPLE. “Dancing has taken her out of the element of sadness,” Monica said. “It was time to leave those things behind.”
Brandy, who’s competing with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, also felt supported by her toughest competitor, actress Jennifer Grey, who discussed a 1987 car crash in Northern Ireland, where two women died after a car Grey was riding in slammed into another vehicle.
Between dances on Monday night, Grey approached Brandy: “She says, ‘Wow, watching your [video] package, I feel even more connected with you and what you’ve gone through,’ ” Brandy told PEOPLE of her chat with Grey. “It was a beautiful moment between us both tonight, and I was really happy that she said that to me because I feel alone at times about it.”
Though Brandy said it was a relief to share her story, recalling the incident still leaves her sad. “I feel great about [opening up],” she said. “It’s still an unfortunate situation, and that’s a regret to go through something like that for everyone that was involved. So it’s just so sad every time I think about it.”
• Reporting by JESSICA WEDEMEYER