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Christie Brinkley Recounts Scary DWTS Injury: 'My Arm Shattered Into a Thousand Little Pieces’

People logo People 9/16/2019 Charlotte Triggs

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Christie Brinkley is reliving the exact moment her time on Dancing with the Stars came to a painful, early end.

On Monday, PEOPLE spoke exclusively with the supermodel about the “devastating” series of events that led to her hanging up her dancing shoes. She cried throughout the emotional interview as she opened up about her scary injury.

© Courtesy Christie Brinkley “The second I landed, I felt the shards in my arm,” Brinkley, 65, told PEOPLE. “Like, I literally felt it in my wrist, and I just instantly looked up and said, ‘I’m so sorry, I broke my arm.'”

“There’s a little bone at the thumb that usually posts one way,” she added. “Mine was in the opposite direction. Then there was bone, just it, it was just shattered into a thousand little pieces, just a millions of little pieces.”

Christie Brinkley sitting on a bench © Provided by Meredith Corporation Christie Brinkley

Her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook, 21, will replace her mother in the competition and appear on Monday night’s premiere.

In a statement issued to GMA on Monday, Brinkley joked, “Showbiz is all about getting a break, and Sailor and I both got one on Dancing with the Stars this season. Sailor joined the cast when I got mine … ouch somebody stop me, it hurts to laugh!”

Christie Brinkley posing for a picture: ABC/Justin Stephens (2) © ABC/Justin Stephens (2) ABC/Justin Stephens (2)

BBC Studios and ABC said in a statement to PEOPLE that Brinkley “suffered injuries which required surgery to her wrist and arm.”

“We wish Christie a full and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her in the audience, whenever possible, proudly supporting Sailor,” the statement continued.

The announcement was made on Monday morning ahead of tonight’s two-hour season premiere, and Brinkley said the whole situation is devastating.

“I was it was really, really a crushing, crushing disappointment in every way,” she said.  “Literally, figuratively everything that happened. And one of the worst feelings is to feel like you’re letting anybody down, you know? And I felt like my coach had worked so hard on this special choreography just for me.”

“And instantly I had a swirl of like, I’m letting my coach down, I’m letting the show down, I’m letting ABC down, I’m letting my fans down on Instagram,” she recalled. “My friends out there that have been so supportive, and that feeling of letting people down, is just awful. So I thought, I have to find a silver lining here. And I immediately thought, because of the personal nature of the song and everything, it’s gotta be one of my daughters.”

While Sailor (who her mom says has “bad stage fright”) was hesitant about the opportunity and hasn’t had much time to rehearse , Brinkley said she has no doubt she’s the right woman for the job.

“Sailor is truly one fearless, strong, amazing person who just always impresses me,” she said.

She added: “They popped her into my costumes. They fit her perfectly.”

Brinkley even FaceTimed with Sailor from bed during rehearsals — and was amazed at her progress.

“I saw joy written all over Sailor’s face,” she said. “And I said, ‘Honey, I can tell that you love this. In overcoming your fear, you discovered a new passion, a new joy. And she said, ‘I know, mom, thanks.’ You know, so it’s like, I mean, that is like the golden lining.”

Christie Brinkley et al. posing for a picture: Christie and Sailor Brinkley | Madison McGaw/ © Madison McGaw/ Christie and Sailor Brinkley | Madison McGaw/

Sailor will be up against The Supremes’ Mary Wilson, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, comedian and actor Kel Mitchell, country star Lauren Alaina, NFL legend Ray Lewis, The Office star Kate Flannery, pop star Ally Brooke, former NBA star Lamar Odom, James Van Der Beek and President Donald Trump’s former press secretary Sean Spicer. Their pro dance partner pairings will be unveiled during the premiere.

Season 28 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.


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