Former Olympic gold medalist gymnast Mary Lou Retton revealed during a recent segment on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” that she had finalized a divorce from her husband of 27 years earlier in the year.
The surprising divorce revelation came during a frank discussion with her professional dance partner, Sasha Farber, following one of their rehearsals.
“I went through a divorce. People don’t know that. It’s the first time I’ve actually said it publicly … after 27 years,” Retton said.
Divorce after 27 years
Retton, 50, married former football star Shannon Kelly in 1990, and the couple have four daughters together: Shayla, 23, McKenna, 21, Skyla, 18, and Emma, 16.
“The divorce happened this year. It was final in February, so it’s very new,” Retton explained in People’s exclusive “sneak peek” video of Monday’s episode of DWTS.
To Farber, she added, “It was hard. It was hard, I felt very alone.”
“It was something that had really needed to happen for a long time. We still love one another, but we weren’t great together anymore,” she said.
“Thank God for my four girls. They loved me unconditionally,” added Retton.
Show helped her deal with divorce
Farber asked Retton if she thought participating in “DWTS” had helped her in dealing with the divorce.
Retton replied, “A ton. When I walked in her I knew I was starting over and I was scared. Now, I know I’m starting over, but I’m excited. There’s that mental switch.”
“You’re back on the market,” Farber joked, to which Retton replied with a laugh, “Yeah, I guess.”
Divorce is, generally speaking, not a particularly good thing for most families — especially if the split is acrimonious and young children are involved — but it can sometimes be the least bad decision in some situations. In this case, however, it appears that the split is amicable and most likely won’t be too harsh on the couple’s daughters, given all but one are already adults.