DWTS’ Sasha Farber Shares What He Texted Former Partner Mary Lou Retton in Hospital

Dancing With the Stars pro Sasha Farber shared the message of hope he sent Mary Lou Retton amid her hospitalization with a rare form of pneumonia.

By Lindsay Weinberg Oct 11, 2023 11:25 PMTags
Watch: Olympic Gymnast Mary Lou Retton “Fighting For Her Life”

Sasha Farber is stepping up with a message for Mary Lou Retton.

The Dancing With the Stars pro shared that he has been in touch with his former dance partner—who competed on the show in 2018—after her family said the former Olympic gymnast has been "fighting for her life" in the hospital with a "rare form" of pneumonia. 

"I spoke to my Sweet Mary Lou over text, during the show," Sasha told People in an article published Oct. 11, "and I reminded her that she needs to fight harder than ever, there is only ONE Mary Lou and that she has got this."

The 39-year-old, who has been partnered with How I Met Your Mother actress Alyson Hannigan for DWTS' ongoing 32nd season, explained that he sent Mary Lou pictures from their past dances together and "she said this made her smile."

"She kind of wants to give up," he added to Entertainment Tonight, "but I'm sending her videos of her dancing."

Meet the Dancing With the Stars Season 32 Cast

Mary Lou, who was eliminated during week six on the competition's 27th season, has been battling the lung infection for over a week in the ICU, according to her daughter McKenna Kelley.

"She is not able to breathe on her own," the 26-year-old shared on the fundraising site Spotfund, noting that the gold medal winner does not have health insurance and therefore the family is soliciting donations for medical bills.

Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Of the illness, McKenna added, "Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details." 

Mary Lou's daughter Shayla Schrepfer gave an update on social media Oct. 11, saying the 55-year-old is "still fighting."

"It's going to be a day by day process," she said in a video, "and we hope that you guys will respect her boundaries as we want to keep the details between her and our family right now."

Mary Lou made history at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by becoming the first American women to win gold in the individual all-around competition.

She went on to marry former Texas Longhorns quarterback Shannon Kelley in 1990 and they welcomed McKenna and Shayla, 28, as well as daughters Skyla, 23, and Emma, 21, before their 2018 divorce. 

"When I say I'm Joe Schmoe mom, I really am," Mary Lou told the Mercury News in 2016. "Oh by the way, I happen to have five Olympic medals, so what?"

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App