Suzanne Somers Opens Up About 'Dancing With the Stars' and Why She Turned It Down for So Long (Q&A)

Suzanne Somers Dancing With the Stars -- P
Courtesy Disney ABC

Suzanne Somers is adding "dancer" to her list of titles, which includes actress, author, wife and mother. The former ThighMaster spokeswoman, Three's Company and Step by Step star, and author of numerous books said yes to Dancing With the Stars season 20 after being invited every season for the past 10 years.

Partnered with professional dancer Tony Dovolani for the 20th season, Somers discusses her DWTS goals, challenges and why she finally said yes to hitting the ballroom floor.

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You were asked to do DWTS since season one, and season 20 is when you said yes. Why this season? 

I had to turn down every previous season because I was too busy. This time around, I am preparing to open in Las Vegas and DWTS couldn’t come at a better time. It gets me into great physical shape for my show, and being quite competitive, I love the challenge of going the distance on DWTS.

Do you have any prior dance experience? 

I have never had a dance lesson in my life before DWTS. Then again, I never had a comedy lesson before Three’s Company. Come to think of it, I did a lot of dancing around when my landlord came for the rent in the early days.

What are your goals for DWTS?

I suffer from perfection issues. When I take on anything new, I beat myself up to be the best I can be. My goal obviously is to be standing in the winner’s circle on May 19th.

What is most challenging for you about dancing? 

Every so often, I love facing a challenge that scares me, and Dancing With the Stars is my present challenge. I always start slow and begin to move into new things gradually, and the better I get the more fun it is, and that’s when I get turned on.

What is Tony Dovolani's coaching style with you? 

Tony is tough but fair. I am so used to being the boss and making my own decisions that being back in class with a world champion dancer took some mental calisthenics on my part. He told me that in five days of teaching me, he is squeezing in four years of lessons. I trust Tony and I respect his direction, and we are both focused on the same thing: victory.

Was your husband, Alan Hamel, excited for you to come on the show?

Alan spoke with Deena Katz, the DWTS co-executive producer, every season. This season when Alan said yes to Deena, she suggested that maybe Alan was trying to get rid of her — ha! [Alan and I] agreed that taking this on is not for sissies, and because we have always had a very jammed schedule, it did not seem like the right thing to do … until now.

Is there someone that you think will be tough to beat this season?

Whenever I have been in a competition, I never try to evaluate my competition. I assume they are there because they are good at what they do and are highly motivated, as am I. I will push myself to achieve a nonachievable goal: perfection. But if I can get as close as possible to that goal, I will feel satisfied that I gave it my all.

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What do you hope to pursue following DWTS?

I’m really excited about my new book, TOX-SICK: From Toxic to Not Sick, being released Apr. 14. We are under the greatest toxin assault in history, and our bodies have reached their tipping point. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to turn your life around, and get on the road to recovery.

After DWTS, I open a show in Las Vegas. I love live performing and did 35 weeks a year in the '80s and then took off to write a bunch of books, star in Step by Step on CBS and ABC with Patrick Duffy for seven years, and build my licensing and TV shopping business. Oh yes, there was that other thing called raising our children. I would like to do another TV sitcom and have a wonderful concept for one, or a daily entertainment hour, but if it doesn’t happen, I will still be a very happy woman. From where I came from, just having a loving family and work I really enjoy, is plenty. After that, it’s all bookkeeping.

Twitter: @natalie_j_stone