In the video package before his performance, which was part of the competition's "most memorable year" week, Schneider opened up about 2016, calling it "the year I lost everything."
Not only was Schneider's Louisiana home ruined by floodwaters caused by "what you can only call the perfect storm," but he lost his mother that year, too.
"We live right next to a river that has a bend in it. When the river flooded, it no longer had a bend in it. It came straight through my mother's house, straight through my house, and just destroyed everything in its path," the former Dukes of Hazzard star said.
"The only thing that got me through that time was Alicia," he continued, adding that the two met while working on films together and that they "were dating."
"Without question, the floods of 2016 brought us closer together," he said.
Upon finding strength in Alicia, Schneider said he became happier. "My mother was the one who said, 'You have your smile back,'" he said of his newfound happiness.
But his happiness would be tested.
"September 13, 2016. Alicia came in and she grabbed me by the hand and she said, 'Your mom died,'" the actor and singer said, his voice breaking. "I have to believe that she died because she knew that I have someone who loves me. My mother's belief in me made me believe in me. and I miss her."
"I miss her all the time, especially now," he said to Slater, tearing up.
"She'd be so happy. She'd be so proud," Slater said, reaching for his hand. "Yep, she would be," he agreed.
"I wish my mom could be here," Schneider told the camera. "I wish she could be in the audience, watching Dancing With the Stars."
"This dance is for you, Mom," he said in the video package before he and Slater took the ballroom floor to "Smile" by the in-house band, Ray Chew Live.
The 58-year-old has had an emotional few weeks on the show; earlier this season, he told host Erin Andrews that he hopes his time on the dancing competition will help him repair his relationship with his adult children.
"I feel good. I'm so excited to be here," he said, going into night two of the season 27 finale in September.
“I’m hoping that I will do my family proud, I’ll do my love over there proud,” he said, referencing Alicia, and added, “and maybe my children will speak to me again.”
Schneider's estranged wife Elvira "Elly" Schneider filed for divorce from Schneider in 2014 after 21 years of marriage. In September 2016, the same month his mother died, he was ordered to pay Elvira more than $18,000 per month in alimony — but he was unable to keep up with the payments and ended up serving jail time this year for failing to pay more than $150,000 in owed payments to Elvira.
Although sentenced to three days in the Los Angeles County Jail, he was released the same day that he was booked, due to overcrowding. But legal woes still hang over his head; he was also ordered to serve 120 hours behind bars for contempt — but that sentence was suspended on the condition he fulfill a four-fold list of conditions, like filing back taxes to his property in Apple Valley so that it could be transferred to Elvira. The conditions also required him to pay her half of his owed earnings from Maven Entertainment and to offer certain financial disclosures before the end of the year.
However, in a letter to the judge, Schneider said he'd rather restore his jail sentence than comply with the court's list of conditions. He wrote that while he had "regret and embarrassment" about his decision, that he was "leveraged to the max" with various loans.
“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.1comments
He now awaits to see if he will be cross-examined by Elvira's lawyers about his claimed financial woes. Whether or not he returns to jail, he's expected to complete 240 hours of community service.
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.