Tuesday night Dancing with the stars In the episode, the big cat enthusiast broke down in tears with her professional dance partner Pasha Pashkov as she discussed the consequences of her portrayal on the Netflix documentary series.
“Do I really mind being at the bottom of the table? In practically everything I’ve done I always start at the bottom, ”said Baskin, 59, of being in the bottom two of the first. .
Baskin also admitted that while she maintains an emotionally “strong” public presence, she breaks down in private.
“All the negative media attention that went out King tiger It was extremely difficult because of the fact that my family struggled with it so much that my daughter hardly read any of the news anymore. I’ve seen what the media can do to you. And I hate trying even harder to be strong around them. I keep it inside and wait until everyone is gone before I can break down, ”she told Pashkov.
” I hope that Dancing with the stars helps do my daughter some good, so that she may at least be able to tell her friends, “This is who my mom is,” Baskin said.
Baskin and Pashkov performed a Viennese waltz and were awarded a 16/30 by judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough.
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After his dance, Baskin revealed that before his video package aired DWTS, “I actually had to contact my family and say, ‘Be prepared’, because I try never to cry in front of them. So breaking down in front of everyone is not characterful to me. ”
But be sure DWTS, Baskin said she “can’t imagine a greater escape than dancing everyday when so much is going on in the world.”
Although she landed in the last two, it was Charles Oakley who was knocked out at the end of the episode.
In March, Baskin – who runs an exotic big cat sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, in Citrus Park, Fla. – rose to fame on Tiger King: Murder, chaos and madness, which focuses on the increasingly bitter rivalry between herself and Joseph Maldonado-Passage (also known as “Joe Exotic”), the now imprisoned founder of an exotic wildlife park in Oklahoma.
The show also touched on the disappearance of Baskin’s late husband Don Lewis – a 60-year-old millionaire and owner of a wildlife sanctuary.
In the Season 29 premiere of last week, Baskin made it DWTS debut, performing a paso doble to Survivor’s tune “Eye of the Tiger”. Also on the first night an advertisement aired about Lewis, who disappeared in 1997 and was later pronounced dead. At the time of her disappearance, Lewis and Baskin were married.
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In the “Justice for Don Lewis” ad, Lewis’s family and lawyer John M. Phillips are asking for advice on his disappearance to be sent to 646-450-6530 or 1-800-litigate. Currently, the family is offering a reward of $ 100,000 for information on his whereabouts.
Lewis’s three daughters and his former assistant all appear in the ad, before the lawyer says, “Don Lewis mysteriously disappeared in 1997. His family deserves answers, they deserve justice.” Do you know who did this or if Carole Baskin was involved? ”
Lewis went missing on August 18, 1997. MPs found his van abandoned at a nearby airport, where he had allegedly planned to take a trip to Costa Rica. Police found no sign of a struggle inside – nor found evidence that he had ever left the country.
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In the decades that followed, his disappearance remained a mystery. But since the release of King tiger earlier this year, police are hoping for a break in the case. (The series also revealed the current friction between Lewis and Baskin’s family.)
At the end of March, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister asked on Twitter that anyone with information about Lewis’s disappearance come forward.
Speaking to PEOPLE in April, Chronister said Baskin was not a suspect in the death of her late husband.
While there are many unanswered questions, there is one thing Chronister is certain of: Lewis did not voluntarily disappear – he was murdered. He also doesn’t think Lewis would have abandoned his children or left his millions of dollars behind.
“I believe it was homicide,” he said. “Now how and who is responsible for it? This is the unknown part at the moment. I would have liked to have had more answers. I just hope, with the popularity of this Netflix series, that I get these answers. ”
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Lewis’s family have long suspected that Baskin had something to do with his disappearance. In King tiger, Maldonado-Passage accused her of disposing of her body by feeding it her big cats. Baskin has long denied the rumors.
Chronister told PEOPLE Baskin was “not a suspect at the moment”. He added, “We have no evidence to qualify her as a person of interest.”
Recently speaking with PEOPLE, Baskin further condemned his portrayal of the Netflix series, saying, “I’m not the person I was portrayed in at all.” King tiger. «
“I am not the murderer, looking for money and looking for gold. I’m the kind of person who will come after anyone who abuses animals. I am relentless. way to stop it, ”she continued.
Dancing with the stars Airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.