Robert Herjavec is the self-proclaimed “sporty shark” on the ABC hit Shark Tank. Monday night he enters another successful ABC competition program, Dancing With the Stars. To hear Herjavec tell the tale, the notoriously brutal dance competition is tough, but it’s helping him with one thing: his divorce.
Herjavec and his wife, Diane Plese, recently announced their intention to divorce after more than two decades of marriage. The couple has three children. The Toronto Star quoted Herjavec this week as saying DWTS was tough to arrange due to his busy schedule, but the timing is right for him given his current priorities and challenges.
“Personally, I’m going through a divorce, so a lot of change. I felt that doing this would be good for me.”
The DWTS gig can be worked around his Shark Tank schedule as well. Herjavec first started considering a slot on the show last year. Dancing With the Stars was his mother’s favorite program.
Fellow “shark” Mark Cuban competed in DWTS with pro Kym Johnson, the same dancer who will lead Herjavec through this round of the show. But not all “sharks” were on his side when word of his plans got out. Kevin O’Leary reportedly told Herjavec he was an “idiot” for doing the show, according to the Star.
Herjavec, 52, is a runner and takes pride in his athletic endeavors. He told Runners World dancing is much harder than running. He’s also already developed a reputation as a fierce competitor, at least in terms of the effort he’s putting in.
“You’re using so many different muscles than you normally would. But people on the show are calling me ‘The Beast’ because I’m rehearsing more than anybody. I’m not sure that’s a good thing!”
Ironically, he started running to help him through his mother’s illness, much as he said he’s now dancing to help him through the break up of his marriage.
“My mom was in the hospital, and I was having a hard time dealing with it. I felt so much better after doing it. Running, in so many ways, saved my sanity.”
This season’s Dancing With the Stars features many well-known people, including Suzanne Somers and Patti LaBelle. Herjavec is already sizing up the competition and is looking with dread towards Nastia Liukin, a gymnast who competed in the 2008 Olympic Games.
“I’m a shark. How in the world am I going to compete with a gymnast?”
Dancing With the Stars debuts Monday on ABC.
[Robert Herjavec image courtesy of Getty]