Emmitt Smith won the third season of Dancing with the Stars, but behind the scenes, his mirrorball win caused friction in his marriage. Smith’s wife, Pat Southall Smith, detailed the couple’s struggles in her book, Second Chances: Finding Healing for Your Pain, Regaining Your Strength, Celebrating Your New Life, and also in a new interview on the Dr. Phil Show, according to the Huffington Post.
Pat Smith came into her relationship with Emmitt after a bad ending to her marriage to comedian Martin Lawrence. After the volatile relationship with Lawrence ended, the former beauty queen felt like a failure, but she saw hope when she met Emmitt Smith.
“After my very disappointing divorce from Martin Lawrence, I met Emmitt Smith,” Pat said. “He was just a really kind, gracious guy. I always say when I met him, it just seemed like he had this light around him.”
Unfortunately, things got rocky about a year into the Mr. & Mrs. Smith stars’ relationship when Emmitt admitted to Pat that he had cheated and had gotten his ex-girlfriend pregnant. The future Mrs. Smith took the news hard, but after a lot of prayer and therapy, Pat forgave Emmitt and they tied the knot in 2000.
But in 2006, the marriage faced another challenge when Emmitt was cast on Dancing With the Stars alongside pretty pro dancer Cheryl Burke. While Burke never acted inappropriately, Emmitt’s wife’s said it was hard for her to handle her husband spending so much private time with the young DWTS dancer.
“I’m dealing with trust issues, self-worth,” Pat said. “[Emmitt’s] dancing with this cute little 20-something-year-old. As much success as he had on the show, I really was happy for him, but I was getting more and more angry and more and more resentful because I was not fulfilling my own dreams. It caused friction.”
Pat Smith has been vocal about her marital troubles. According to People, Smith did a Facebook Live interview earlier this year in which she revealed that her mind was racing while Emmitt was logging all of those hours behind closed doors with Burke.
“During that time I would have literal motion picture movies going on in my head of Cheryl and Emmitt in the dance room having this steamy affair,” she said during the Facebook Live interview. “I’m talking like Oscar-worthy films going on. And I literally sat at home thinking, ‘Okay, they’ve got this romance and there’s this chemistry and this thing’ and it was killing me.”
Smith added that she told Emmitt she didn’t want him to go out to lunch or have coffee dates with Burke and that their relationship needed to be just about the dancing. But Emmitt even did better than that.
“I told Emmitt, ‘Listen, no going out to lunch or let’s go run and get us Starbucks. I need you all to keep this business,'” Pat revealed.”So what he did was really include me on the team. Cheryl was a part of our family’s parties, our kid’s parties.”
While Smith’s wife now thinks of his former DWTS partner as a “little sister,” she admits that at the time she “put on a mask” and later collapsed and went into a depression about Emmitt’s close relationship with Burke. In the end, she chalked up the whole experience as a wake-up call about her own life.
“I was happy that he won, obviously, he’s my husband, but after that, that’s when I got my wake up call, that it was time for me not to be so worried with what he’s doing, but what it is that I’m supposed to be doing,” she said.
Take a look at the video below to see Emmitt Smith being confronted by his wife about feeling taken for granted.
[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Saks Fifth Avenue]