Sasha Pieterse is onto the next chapter of her life — with a very special someone by her side.
On this week’s Dancing with the Stars, the Pretty Little Liars alum dedicated her foxtrot with pro Gleb Savchenko — which earned her a 24 out of 30 — to her fiancé Hudson Sheaffer, whom she credits with lifting her up during the most challenging period of her life.
Pieterse, 21, gained nearly 70 lbs. over two years due to a hormone condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and she told PEOPLE after her performance Monday night that she has her “best friend” Sheaffer to thank for being a constant source of support.
“He’s incredible,” she gushed. “I’ve known him for so long, and it’s so incredible having someone like that supporting you and knowing without a doubt that they are going to be there no matter what happens.”
“It really, truly is reciprocated and what we originated our relationship on was honesty, commitment, being loyal, being supportive, making sure that the communication is open enough and obviously love,” she added. “I think it’s incredible that I have all of that in him, and I’m excited to start our life together.”
Pieterse, who announced her engagement to Sheaffer on Instagram in December 2015, says it will be a “small wedding.”
“I plan to know everybody at my wedding,” she said, adding that her dress will be “definitely more minimal — thin straps, low back, very minimal full skirt.”
The actress, who has lost over 15 lbs. over the course of the competition, says she feels “great” — albeit “so sore.”
“This is the best I’ve ever felt,” she said. “But also it’s a lot of conditioning, which has been really helpful. This is a work in progress for me. I’m not fixed. It’s a journey and I’m excited to be on it, because I know that it’s moving forward, and I’m excited to share that with other people.”
PEOPLE’s special issue, 25 Seasons of Dancing with the Stars, is on stands now.
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In her pre-taped package, Pieterse got candid about her health struggle, revealing her weight gain was causing her to lose out on jobs.
“It took such a knock at my confidence because it kind of threatened my future, and that was really hard,” she said. “On the bright side, Hudson was there, and he made sure that no matter what, I felt loved.”
“She is just beautiful, wonderful, a strong person,” Sheaffer said. “Sasha is the girl of my dreams. The day I proposed was the happiest day of my life.”
“Getting engaged was definitely a shift in my focus,” Pieterse said. “It completed my journey in 2016. It’s really the end of that chapter and starting the new, and I’m excited to be a wife.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.