'DWTS' Pro Peta Murgatroyd Opens Up About Partner Lamar Odom's Memory Loss After 2015 Overdose

"Throughout the week while we rehearse, he can sometimes forget everything in one day and I will reteach it to him over and over again," Peta Murgatroyd says

After a two-year hiatus, Peta Murgatroyd is back on Dancing with the Stars — and is partnered with former NBA star (and the tallest guy in the ballroom) Lamar Odom. Here, Peta details their journey thus far – the challenges, the laughs they share, and what it’s going to take to win!

Last night was exhilarating. The fact that Lamar and I were saved was so out of this world. Yes, I know people who have had no dance experience were saved loads of times before, BUT we were at the bottom of the leader board (by a long way) both weeks, so to be called first was a real shock. Lamar was so happy and I could see it gave him a real boost of confidence, especially after our dance didn’t go so well.

Our salsa started great! He was smiling with energy and doing the right moves. About halfway through though, his memory loss kicked in and he lost his patterns of choreography. He forgot 1/3 of steps throughout the dance. I don’t think people really understand when he says he has a “memory problem.” The guy was in a coma and had 12 heart attacks and six strokes. He shouldn’t be living, but by a miracle he is. His memory is the biggest issue we face, not the height. His cognitive ability is slow and it has definitely affected us. Lamar gave me the okay to talk about it openly so I wanted to give you a little insight.

Peta Murgatroyd DWTS

The salsa I choreographed was very simple, mainly so I knew he could master it. Throughout the week while we rehearse, he can sometimes forget everything in one day and I will reteach it to him over and over again. Sometimes he will only forget sections but other parts he will nail. It all depends. It’s a good thing that I’m patient, and that he’s a sweet and kind man. 🙂

Yesterday, throughout the day, he asked me over and over again what comes next. We had practiced the dance for five days, and I’ve never experienced this before. It’s like I’ve never showed him the steps. I’m used to it now though and we joke about it and have a laugh 🙂

Peta Murgatroyd DWTS
Lamar Odom and Peta Murgatroyd. ABC

It makes it nerve-racking for me but I can’t imagine what it feels like for him. Right before we went live, he asked what comes next after the shimmy and I couldn’t talk to him because I was waiting for the cue in the music to go! During the dances, I have to speak the steps to him about 2 beats before they are supposed to happen. I do this while I am performing my steps and smiling to the camera to complete the performance. It’s difficult but I know that Lamar wants this so bad!

Peta Murgatroyd DWTS
Peta Murgatroyd and Lamar Odom. ABC

He did his very best, and I’m super proud of him. I talked him through his entire dance, as you could see, and he finished with a smile. He was disappointed again, but I made sure I picked him up and comforted him. People like Lamar deserve to be on this show. They deserve a second chance and they deserve to be shown praise and love! This is what our show is all about, the journey! And he was definitely better than last week! Go Lamar!

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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