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Jeannie Mai Is ‘Still Bitter’ About Early ‘DWTS’ Exit, Working on Gaining Weight Back After Surgery (Exclusive)

A tough journey. Jeannie Mai is fully healed following an illness that forced her to leave Dancing With the Stars season 29 — but she’s still not happy about having to exit.

“I am 100 percent healthy. My throat is healed,” the Holey Moley sideline correspondent, 42, told Us Weekly exclusively while promoting the third season of the ABC game show.

Related: Celebrities Forced to Quit 'Dancing With the Stars'

In November 2020, the Owl’s Brew chief brand officer left the reality series to undergo emergency throat surgery. She was later diagnosed with a rare condition called epiglottitis, which causes inflammation of the tissue protecting the windpipe.

Jeannie Mai Still Bitter About Early DWTS Exit Still Working Gaining Weight Back After Injury
Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong on ‘DWTS’. ABC/Eric McCandless

“I’m still having to work at gaining back the weight. What’s weird is it’s actually hard to get back to the amount of food I used to eat because I went through, like, two months without eating real foods that I’m still kind of affected by that,” Mai continued. “It’s only been about six months. So hopefully in a year, I’ll be fully back to normal.”

As for whether she’d go back on Dancing With the Stars, the Real cohost is unsure.

Related: Celebrity Health Scares

“It was truly the hardest job I’ve ever had. I’m still reeling from how challenging it was and how much [time] it took to me every week to learn a new dance,” the stylist, who was paired with Brandon Armstrong, said. “At the same time, I’m still bitter about having to leave so early that I’m pissed that Chrishelle [Stause] took the spot I should have had. I’m still going through my emotions.”

Following her surgery, the California native opened up about the heartbreaking exit.

Jeannie Mai Still Bitter About Early DWTS Exit Still Working Gaining Weight Back After Injury
Jeannie Mai. John Photography/Shutterstock

“Although I am grateful to be recovering safely, I can’t lie… I am devastated by the fact that my journey with #DWTS will end this way,” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “Dancing on this show has been the most exhilarating adventure. I’ve gained both beautiful friendships and loving supporters.”

Related: Shocking Reality TV Exits

For now, she’s focused on Holey Moley 3D in 2D, which was the perfect job opportunity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I needed it because everybody went through a rough time for quarantine. Everybody was looking for a reason to laugh and to be outside. I’ve always kind of complained, if I’m honest, like, allergies or how cold it was for Holey Moley,” she shared with Us. “But this year, I was screaming to get outside and just to play and to just be in the fresh air and say hi to people. Holey Moley was the saving grace for me.”

Holey Moley kicks off on ABC Thursday, June 17, at 8 p.m. ET.

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