Willa Ford declines to fill Sara Evans' 'Dancing with the Stars' shoes
By Reality TV World staff, 10/17/2006
ABC is keeping a tight lid on the specifics of how it plans to handle Sara Evans' unexpected decision to quit Dancing with the Stars, however a couple of details have emerged: 1) Evans' highly promoted Tuesday night "final appearance" will consist of a pre-taped interview filmed on Saturday, and 2) recently eliminated Willa Ford won't be returning to the reality ballroom dancing competition.
According to Ford (who was eliminated less than 24 hours before Evans surprised everyone by filing for divorce from husband Craig Schelske and announcing her decision to leave Dancing with Stars), ABC asked her to return to show and take Evans' place but she declined the offer. "America voted, America spoke, and I'm done," Ford told CNN Headline News' Robin & Company during a Monday appearance on the morning show.
Meanwhile, although ABC's on-air promos have been (rather shamelessly) presenting Evans' departure as "rumors" and urging Dancing with the Stars viewers to tune in on Tuesday and find out if she's "really leaving," Evans representatives and divorce attorneys (who have already confirmed her decision to leave the show in numerous media statements and revealed her scandalous divorce allegations in her publicly available divorce filings) have revealed that Evans has already flown back home to Nashville and will only appear in a seven minute interview segment that was taped in Los Angeles on Saturday.
"She did an interview explaining her reasons for withdrawing [from the show]," John Hollins Jr., one the attorneys hired to represent Evans in her divorce, told Nashville's The Tennessean newspaper. According to the paper, Evans' interview "will not go into detail about her divorce allegations but should contain general statements about her leaving the show." Evans is also reportedly not expected to give any additional interviews "for a while."
In her unusually detailed initial divorce filing on Thursday, Evans alleged that Schelske had been verbally abusive toward Evans, had frequently harassed and threatened her, drank excessively, committed adultery with the their three young children's former nanny, and had been frequently watching pornography in their home. The initial filing -- which included temporary restraining order and custody order requests that a Tennessee state judge approved that same day -- also charged that Schelske had been soliciting sex partners via craigslist.org's personals ads and maintains a collection of more than a hundred pornographic photos that show him in either an aroused state or having sex with other women.
Schelske, an Oregon native who unsuccessfully ran for the state's Fifth Congressional District's Republican nomination in 2002, has denied all of Evans' charges. "I have made the decision to forgive Sara for the unfortunate campaign that she and her publicity advisors are currently waging," Schelske said in a media statement released by his spokesman. "Sara has unfortunately become a dramatically different person over the last year and it is something we have struggled to deal with. Sadly, it appears we have failed."
Evans filed an amended divorce complaint on Monday, adding charges that on the same day as the Tennessee judge issued a restraining order intended to prevent such actions, Schelske transferred $274,000 of the couple's joint account holdings -- including $66,500 that had been intended for church tithing -- to an Oregon bank account held in his name only.
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