'Dancing With the Stars' 2016: Doug Flutie Discusses His Dance Floor Inspirations

"GMA" went behind the scenes at the former star quarterback’s rehearsals.

ByABC News
April 11, 2016, 8:17 AM

— -- Former star quarterback Doug Flutie and pro partner Karina Smirnoff have captured hearts with their crowd-pleasing performances on "Dancing With the Stars."

"GMA" went inside their rehearsals to get some insight into the dancing pair's dynamic.

"I think we have a very ... old married couple relationship," she said, laughing. "I voice what I want him to do. He complains back, tells me what hurts. I tell him to keep quiet and just keep doing."

Flutie is appearing on "Dancing" to raise awareness for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. Flutie and his wife, Laurie, started the foundation 18 years ago in honor of their son, Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old.

"We honestly believe that we were given Dougie because we are in a position to make a difference," he said.

Flutie is now launching a new campaign called Autism on the Go.

"This will, when it's all said and done, be the thing I'm most proud of because it will go on much longer than a football career went on or game or season or the mirror ball or anything else," he said.

It was that same deep emotion that inspired Flutie's April 3 performance. His touching waltz was dedicated to his parents, Joan and Dick Flutie, who died within hours of each other in 2015 after 56 years of marriage.

On the morning of his father's death, Flutie said he got a text from his sister as he was on his way to the family.

The text read: "'They're working on mom.' And I didn't understand that one," Flutie told "GMA." "I run in, and Mom had had a heart attack after Dad passed. And she passed away within the hour. The only way to grasp it is to understand that it's a love story and it's -- Mom passed of a broken heart."

He added: "At some point she realizes 'I don't want to go on without him.'"

"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Tonight's show will feature performances influenced by classic Disney films.

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