“I have to say, for the first time in 21 seasons, I did not expect this at all,” admitted dance pro Dovolani, 42. “We had such a great journey, she was growing every single week, it felt like she was really hitting her stride.”
As for Maples, 52, she admitted she was “so sad.”
“Truly, my heart’s broken. I love the show,” she said. “I’ve had a rough few years, and this helped me learn how to not just walk again but learn how to dance. So I really hoped to continue and I hoped we could just keep sharing the fun.”
The actress and former Mrs. Donald Trump also called her partner Dovolani “the greatest teacher” and said competing on the show was the “hardest work I’ve ever done.”
During her final performance, Maples dedicated her emotional routine to her daughter Tiffany Trump, 22, who was sitting in the front row cheering on her mom.
“Bless her heart,” Maples said. “She is now out interviewing [for jobs] – how about that? She graduates in May.”
And Maples managed to find the silver lining in being sent home: “The good news is now I can help her get ready for her graduation. It was going to be a little tough with Dancing with the Stars, to be the mom that I like to be, ’cause this is full-time! If you get food and an hour of sleep in, you’re doing well.”
Maples added that her daughter is “so proud,” albeit disappointed the journey is over.
“She’s extremely sad that we’re not still in ’cause she knows how much this means to me and to Tony, and she knows how hard we worked,” Maples said. “I mean, we worked so hard! We gave everything. But she’s going to be alright. She’s proud of her momma, and that’s what you want your babies to be. You want to inspire your children, and I’m so grateful for all the women and daughters that have been so supportive and I just hope we can keep inspiring each other.”
“Everybody needs to dance, I’ve learned that,” Maples added. “You keep living, you keep dancing, that’s it!”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.