Ahead of her samba with partner Sasha Farber, Lee, 18, admitted in her package that she lets the rude remarks on social media get to her — but is working on pushing forward. Her newfound confidence was evident on Monday night, and the pair earned a perfect score of 40 out of 40.
“Mental health is definitely a very sensitive topic for me because it’s hard for me to speak out about anything because I feel like just the whole world is watching me right now,” the Olympian told Us Weekly and other reporters following the episode dedicated to Janet Jackson. “If I say the wrong thing, people will be like, ‘Oh, she’s just doing it for attention,’ [and] all this stuff. So it’s definitely very hard, but there’s just so much that a lot of people don’t know about, which makes it really difficult when I have to go on social media and see bad comments about myself or people just talking bad about me.”
The Minnesota native noted that she doesn’t understand the hate since she hasn’t done anything wrong.
“It’s not something that I can control, but it’s something that I’m working on, like, not focusing on it,” Lee added. “That was hard for me to do.”
The athlete also has the support of her partner, 37, who has been by her side since the beginning.
“I always tell Suni, like, she has just had this in her system trying to come out, and I’m so glad that it just came out today on the dance floor,” Farber said of their dance during Janet Night. “And even this whole week, I feel like Suni has just been a different person in a good way. She’s been great the weeks before, but I feel like I knew who the real Suni was week one, but we never got to see it. Today was just magical.”
In addition to her mental health struggles, Lee dealt with a stomach bug and had to run off the stage after her November 1 performance — something that left her feeling so mortified she almost didn’t return for the night’s second dance.
“I literally ran off the stage on live TV,” she explained in this week’s package. “When I was backstage, I was more embarrassed than anything, but I was not about to throw up on national TV.”
Once again, Farber was by her side. After last week’s incident, the Russia native told Us, “I’m like, ‘Let’s just chill. We got this. You don’t have to rehearse. I’m going to go extra slow. I’ve got you. I want all your worries, like, let me worry. You just hold on and hold your breath. Don’t throw up on me, and we got this.'”
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi