Dancing With the Stars pro Witney Carson came so close to winning the mirrorball trophy yet again, but she is certainly not mad about coming in second to former Bachelorette Hannah Brown and her partner, Alan Bersten. After getting paired with Nickelodeon star Kel Mitchell this season, the professional ballroom dancer and actor managed to find themselves in a heated season coming in hot as the runner-up couple. But this isn't the first time Carson has found herself in such a position. Fans will recall that she and partner Milo Manheim came in second place last year to country radio host Bobby Bones and Sharna Burgess. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Carson recalls what was going through her head during Monday night's fiery finale.
"Oh, that was crazy!" she told PopCulture.com when asked what she was thinking during that moment. "I just kept thinking I've been here before and I really want that mirrorball so bad. I've been so close to it so many times and it's been a long time since I've actually won. So just to be there was obviously an honor, everybody there was so amazing, the celebrities were just incredible. So just being there was an honor, but of course you want to win."
The Utah native confessed that she already felt like she and Mitchell had won because of their routines, as well as the growth the 41-year-old former child star had shown her and audiences over the course of 11 weeks.
"I felt like Kel and I had such a great night. I felt like I had already won because of the routines that we did and the growth that he'd shown," she revealed before adding that it's a "popularity contest" and America showed who they wanted to see win. "I'm happy about the dances and the routines and most importantly Kel's growth as a dancer. And I learned so much, so I'm not mad. I'm not mad at all, and I felt honored to be there honestly."
It was not only an exciting time for Carson because of DWTS, but because this month is near and dear to her heart as it's National Family Caregivers Month. The 26-year-old explained that she sympathizes with family caregivers who are taking care of family or friends battling cancer because she was once a caregiver herself after her father-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. While he passed away last March, the impression it made on Carson is everlasting.
"It was a huge moment in my life where we learned that he was terminal in probably about the beginning of December of last year and I have to decide if I was going to go on tour or not with Dancing with the Stars. It was something that was really important to spend that time with him and to spend that time with my husband and with my family, so I decided to do that," she explained. "So we skipped out on tour to be with family, be with him and we lived with him at the time and we took care of him every day. We gave him medicine, we changed out his IVs, and we helped with the home health nurse and we did really everything that could until the day he passed away."
That's why she's speaking on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer in light of National Family Caregivers Month, to help recognize those who are caregivers themselves. In fact, through the organization, she invited a woman named Shelby Nish and her mother, who is Nish's caregiver, to an episode of the popular dance competition. Nish was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma when she was 9 months pregnant.
"That was wonderful," Carson beamed of having Nish and her mother at the DWTS taping. "I just really wanted to give them something special and give them something to look forward to. It's always such a hard time when you go through this together — it's just a miserable time that you have really nothing to look forward to, so I felt like this is really important for them to come to a show, and they were huge fans and they were super sweet and just so nice, so I'm so glad that we were able to do that for them."
As this emotional month comes to an end for Carson, so does her work. She will be taking some well-deserved time off with her family before she gears up for Dancing with the Stars Live tour. Click here to get tickets.