"I'm hoping that I will do my family proud," John Schneider admitted


In addition to winning the Mirrorball Trophy, John Schneider is hopeful that his Dancing with the Stars journey might pave a path to reconciliation with his three children.

The Dukes of Hazzard alum, who played Bo Duke on the comedy series from 1979-85, made his debut on the reality dancing competition series on Monday evening, when season 27 premiered. Schneider, 58, and his pro partner, Emma Slater, performed a foxtrot on night one and earned an 18/30 from judges.

On the second evening of a two night premiere, Schneider, 58, discussed his inaugural dance while standing alongside Slater, who advised him on Monday to not watch the introductory video package that aired before their performance.

DWTSJohn Schneider (screen grab)09/24/18CR: ABC
John Schneider and Emma Slater
| Credit: ABC

“When people watch the package before they dance, they’re watching themselves and then all of a sudden they’re like, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to dance!’ And then like things fly out their head,” Slater, 29, explained to co-host Erin Andrews. “So I’m like, ‘Focus. Don’t listen.’ ”

Schneider added with a laugh, “I just wanted to get over the car,” referencing the red Dukes of Hazzard General Lee replica car that he slid across.

Going into night two, the star, who was safe from elimination and progressed to the second week, added, “I feel good. I’m so excited to be here” before revealing that he and his children are not on speaking terms.

“I’m hoping that I will do my family proud, I’ll do my love over there proud,” said Schneider, referencing his girlfriend, Alicia, and added, “and maybe my children will speak to me again.”

After 21 years of marriage, Schneider’s estranged wife Elvira “Elly” Schneider filed for divorce in Los Angeles county on Nov. 14, 2014. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split, according to court documents.

In September 2016, Schneider — he shares adult children Leah, Chasen, and Karis with Elvira — was ordered to pay his ex $18,911 every month, TMZ reported.

But three months ago, Schneider was sentenced to three days behind bars in the Los Angeles County Jail in June for failure to pay more than $150,000 in owed alimony payments to Elvira. The actor was released on the same day as his initial booking because of California’s overcrowded prison system, but his legal woes were not done with that.

Schneider was also ordered to serve an additional 120 hours behind bars for contempt, but that sentence was suspended by the court on the condition that he fulfill a four-part list of conditions, including filing back taxes to help clear title to their property in Apple Valley so that it could be transferred to her, paying his ex half of his owed earnings from Maven Entertainment, and offering certain financial disclosures before the end of the year.

John Schneider and ex-wife Elvira Schneider
| Credit: John M. Heller/Getty

Rather than complying with the court’s full list of conditions, however, Schneider asked the court to restore his jail sentence following his early release.

In a July 6 letter to the judge in his case, obtained by PEOPLE, Schneider wrote that he had “regret and embarrassment” about declining the opportunity to comply with the court’s conditions but that “I am leveraged to the max” with various loans while trying to do “what I believe is ‘right’ throughout this whole process.” He went on to reveal that Maven, an independent entity, had already made several financial advances on his behalf and his earnings have thus been diminished by his indebtedness to it.

Schneider said it was “unlikely” he would be able to comply with the conditions set forth by the court to have the charge dropped, and thus avoid his three-day jail sentence, so he instead effectively asked the court to simply lock him up for the entirety of that sentence.

“I am willing and able to accept the punishment for my actions/inactions as to this matter and I request this court to impose such sentence without further delay,” he wrote.

However, we may not see Schneider fitted with cuffs again just yet. On July 17, Elvira’s attorneys filed a motion to strike the letter from the record as an unlawful ex parte communication until a hearing could be arranged and the attorneys could have the opportunity to cross-examine Schneider as to his claimed financial woes.

Schneider is expected to complete 240 hours of community service as part of his sentencing structure, whether he returns to jail or not.

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