On Christmas Day 2009, Shannen's father, Tom, suffered a massive stroke that left him immobile and able to say little more than "Yes" or "No." But when the former "90210" star told him she was offered a spot on "Dancing," her dad perked up.
"He got really excited and was like, 'Yeah! Yeah!'" Shannen told Access Hollywood's Maria Menounos during her recent "DWTS" rehearsal.
"And I was like, 'No! No! No!'" the actress laughed.
During her visit to Shannen's rehearsal with partner Mark Ballas, Maria also played the actress a clip from a 2007 Access interview where Shannen said she'd never do "Dancing with the Stars."
"I watch 'Dancing with the Stars' and I love it," she told Access at the time.
"Would you ever consider doing that show?" Access asked.
"No! I'd be way too nervous. I couldn't handle it," she said in 2007.
Fast-forward to 2010 and Shannen's newfound motivation.
"I have a fear of live audiences – a huge, huge fear. It's really bad. I get hives all over. I hyperventilate," the actress revealed to Maria. "That's why I'm saying it's only for my dad that I'm here and facing my fear."
And Shannen is hoping that it might motivate her dad to confront his fear.
"There are days when I think anybody in that position with health problems like he's had forever, you know you give up. And on those days, my mom calls me and I rush over there and I'm like, "OK, I'm in dance clothes — but I could be in street clothes any second now,'" she grinned. "Because of it, he's gotten a lot better."
But make no mistake, Shannen is in it to win it. However, as far as the typically revealing "DWTS" outfits the contestants wear – Shannen said she's not about to go toe-to-toe with Pamela Anderson.
"She can have that domain as far as I'm concerned. I'm not an exhibitionist at all. I'm a little bit conservative," she admitted. "And my grandmother is watching this from Mississippi and would kill me if showed too much skin!"
Catch Shannen's "Dancing" debut, along with the rest of ABC's new cast of "Stars," when the new season of "DWTS" kicks off on March 22.
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