Julianne Hough is finally speaking out about why she decided it was time to leave Dancing with the Stars.
Julianne, who first appeared on the show as a professional dancer in 2007 and then became a judge in 2014, is now breaking her silence about why she decided it was time to go and is revealing why she really told DWTS producers that she no longer wanted to sit on the judging panel.
“I wanted to take some time and focus on my acting and kind of get back on that path,” Hough told Entertainment Tonight this week of why she quit the dancing series. “I’m really excited, you know? This is a different chapter. I’m 29 and I feel like I’m sort of coming into my own.”
Adding that she’ll always “be a part of [DWTS] in some way, shape or form,” the dancer added that she finally realized this year that she wanted to try new things sooner rather than later, which is why she knew it was time to step away from DWTS after first appearing on the show a decade ago.
“I know that if I keep doing [the same thing] I’m doing that I’m gonna wakeup in a couple years and be like, ‘I wish I would’ve done [something else] when I really wanted to do it,'” Julianne continued of her surprising decision to quit.
“It was really hard,” she added of her decision to leave, “but I wanted to make that choice.”
But while Julianne isn’t present in the ballroom anymore, she also appeared to confirm that there’s no bad blood between her and her fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, or Bruno Tonioli, nor is their drama with her and any of the celebrities or professional dancers, some of whom have expressed their sadness over seeing her go.
Hough told the site that she actually still watches from home and has favorites when it comes to who she’d like to see take home the famous mirrorball trophy and be named the winner of Dancing with the Stars Season 25 later this year.
“I watch the show now that I’m home and… I have favorites,” Derek Hough’s sister said in the new interview. “I could never really have favorites [on the show]. I had to really kind of separate that.”
She then name checked Derek Fisher, Lindsey Stirling, and Sasha Pieterse as her one to watch.
Julianne’s recent comments mark the first time the star has publicly spoken about her decision to quit DWTS since it was confirmed just days before the Season 25 premiere that she would not be returning to the judging panel with Bruno, Carrie Ann, and Len.
Hough stayed quiet about why she decided to quit after the news broke, though a source told Entertainment Tonight that she wanted to focus more on her acting career after previously appearing in a number of movies including Safe Haven with Josh Duhamel and Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera.
Julianne has since confirmed that she’ll be appearing in the upcoming movie Bigger as fitness expert Betty Weider. She announced the big news on her Instagram page last month and told fans that she was “excited” to get to work.
The site’s insider also denied that Julianne’s decision to quit the show had anything to do with her marrying husband Brooks Laich in July.
Dancing with the Stars Season 25 airs on Monday nights on ABC.
[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly]