Valerie Harper's 'Mixed Emotions' About Being A DWTS Inspiration

Valerie Harper with Tristan MacManus on 'Dancing with the Stars' on September 16, 2013 Valerie Harper with Tristan MacManus on 'Dancing with the Stars' on September 16, 2013

Valerie Harper left barely a dry eye in the house as she made her debut on Monday’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but the TV icon told Access Hollywood she has “mixed emotions” when it comes to being an inspiration.

Access’ Shaun Robinson caught up with Valerie (who is bravely competing in the midst of battling terminal cancer) and partner Tristan MacManus after scoring 21 out of 30 points for their foxtrot.

“How did it feel to be out there and be such an inspiration to so many people?” Shaun asked.

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“I have mixed emotions about it because I don’t feel like I’m an inspiration,” she said.

The 74-year explained that she’s simply being honest about what she’s facing.

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“I’m glad if they get inspired. But it’s not me… it’s just that I’m gonna share the truth with you, and when my husband and I share the truth about my condition and my death sentence of three months – it’s now nine months, which is great,” she continued. “I’m so happy that if people are getting value, if they’re getting value in their lives by me just saying, ‘Listen guys, don’t read the stuff or listen to the stuff on the internet.’”

The actress explained that something Tristan shared with her as they prepped for their debut, is a bit of advice that she can take with her throughout her day.

“He’s my rock and my support and my encouragement. And he said, ‘Val, throw [your pre-show jitters] away… if stuff goes wrong, who cares… Enjoy it! Smile at the folks, and look at the balcony. Take them in,’” she recalled. “That is a great note for life.”

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-- Jesse Spero

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