How 'Dancing with the Stars' Gave Robert Herjavec 'Belief In the Future'

The contestant opens up about his separation and how the show has helped.

March 16, 2015, 2:44 AM

— -- Robert Herjavec expected to get in better shape by participating in "Dancing with the Stars."

However, he didn't realize that it would benefit him mentally too.

"I got separated almost a year now and you go through different highs and different lows and it’s difficult," he told ABC News. "Relationships are hard and you second-guess yourself but I couldn't imagine something better because it is so far outside of my comfort zone that it kind of gave me a renewed hope and belief in the future."

Herjavec, who also stars in the ABC reality series "Shark Tank," was married to Diane Plese for more than two decades when they split. The former couple has three children, whom the tech entrepreneur calls "amazing." The show has also helped him deal with the fact that they're growing up.

"Being a dad is the most important thing in the world to me. Not only is the separation hard but my kids are at an age where they were leaving anyway," he said. "When your kids hit their teens and twenties, they're in their own world, and I took it very hard. I love my kids and I miss them so much, but I also miss a time that doesn't exist anymore, like every parent does."

Dancing has helped with that. Every day for several hours, Herjavec practices his moves ("sexy hips" has been his latest hurdle) with his partner, Kym Johnson. His new schedule, which he says helps him sleep better at night, has forced him to be even more productive during the day.

"I knew it would be time-consuming and I knew it would be physically hard, but what I didn't plan on was how immersive it is. I race cars for fun and I had a bad crash a couple years ago. When I came back, I kept crashing. A friend said, 'You have to focus better. Stop doing your emails on race day.' Dancing is like that," he explained. "I found it very difficult to go to work and then jump into dance rehearsal. It takes me awhile to decompress, so it makes you want to dance and do nothing else!"

It's become such an integral part of his life that Herjavec said he hopes to continue dancing no matter what happens on the show.

"At my age, when you can do something like this, it kind of really reignites your excitement for life again and I’m pretty excited about life to begin with," he said. "I keep telling Kym, at the end of this process I will be a dancer. I may be bankrupt and my business may go bankrupt but I’ll be dancer!"

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