A source close to Hernandez told Refinery29 that Hernandez's family chose to wait until a planned home visit on Friday to tell Hernandez about her grandma's death two days earlier. They wanted to be able to tell the gymnast in person and be together as a family. "It had nothing to do with DWTS," the source added.
This story was originally published on November 15.
If you watched Dancing With the Stars on Monday night, then you know that Laurie Hernandez suffered a sad loss in her family recently. The Olympian gymnast's grandmother Brunilda died of Alzheimer's last week, as People reports. The 16-year-old broke down crying during her live performance with dance partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy. She had just found out about the sobering news on Friday. But what makes this sad situation sickening is the fact that the news of her grandma's death was kept from Hernandez for two whole days.
According to People, Hernandez's grandmother died on Wednesday. So why wasn't she told right away? It's not clear whether Hernandez was completely sequestered from communication with her family, or whether they had anything to do with the choice not to tell her immediately. But the fact that her partner Val was told the news on Wednesday, before Hernandez — and that he "helped decide" to tell her on Friday, according to People — suggests that the show was involved in withholding the information.
"I just want to protect and guide her through it," Val told People backstage on Monday. "But I’m not going to shelter her from a situation that is hers... It’s hers to face and hers to grow from and hers to understand as well." Exactly. It was her situation, and she had a right to face it and grow from it from the moment it happened. Could DWTS showrunners have been concerned with keeping Hernandez in rehearsals for Monday night's show? Were producers worried the news would affect her performance? If they indeed hid this huge piece of family news from a 16-year-old girl — in turn affecting her grieving process — then that's just wrong. And the fact that Hernandez and her partner nabbed a perfect score Monday night doesn't make the blow any softer.