, Maureen McCormick‘s last dance lesson didn’t go so well.
“My husband and I went to a dance class to learn a slow dance for our wedding, but when we got to the reception, we forgot it all,” says the former
star. “It was awful. Dancing in public terrifies me.”
That, of course, was long before McCormick, 60, made the decision to compete on season 23 of
“When this opportunity came along, I was overwhelmed,” she says of joining the ABC reality dance competition in September. “But I decided it was time to face my fears.”
Best known for her role as enviable oldest sister Marcia on the iconic ’70s sitcom, the actress is no stranger to dealing with hardships. When
went off the air in 1974 after five seasons, the acting career McCormick dreamed of didn’t come to fruition and she began to spiral. She battled bulimia in her teens and a vicious cocaine addiction in her 20s. In her 30s she fought depression, and she struggled with her weight in her 40s.
“I’ve been through a lot of hard times, but I take all those experiences and learn and grow from them,” says McCormick. At 60, “I actually feel healthier, happier and more in tune with myself than ever.”
Now, McCormick cherishes life at home in Los Angeles with her husband, Michael Cummings, 63, and their daughter Natalie, 27.
“We’ve gone through thick and thin and survived,” McCormick says of her 31-year marriage, which she will honor with a dance on Monday’s episode. “Every challenge has made us stronger and more in love than ever.”
McCormick continues to rely on her family as she struggles with confidence on
“One day after rehearsal, I was so discouraged and down on myself. My daughter called and put everything into perspective. She told me, ‘Mom, you know nothing about this dance world. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everything will be fine,’ ” says McCormick. “I’m just so proud of the human being Natalie is. She makes me realize what matters and what doesn’t. I learn from her every day.”
Also calming McCormick‘s fears is her pro dancer partner Artem Chigvintsev.
“I’ve never been able to dance in public without this part of my brain saying, ‘You’re awful. You can’t move. You’re not sexy,’ ” she says. “But with Artem, I feel like I’m floating.”
“I’m just here to go on my journey, conquer my fears and learn as much as possible as long as I’m on the show,” she says. “I want to embrace the moment and finally dance like no one’s watching.”
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