Derek Hough Details Wife Hayley Erbert's Possible Dance Comeback After Skull Surgery

After undergoing skull surgery, Hayley Erbert is steadily making her return to the spotlight. Husband Derek Hough exclusively told E! News when he believes she's hitting the dance floor again.

By Jess Cohen Mar 14, 2024 5:20 PMTags
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Hayley Erbert deserves a perfect 10 for her commitment. 

After a health battle that included emergency skull surgery, there's a "strong possibility" the pro dancer is returning to work with husband Derek Hough.

"There's a possibility, there really is," Derek told E! News' Justin Sylvester and Keltie Knight of his upcoming tour during the show's March 13 episode, "And we actually met dancing on stage on tour. Our first kiss was on stage on tour. We were touring last year for the first time as a married couple and now this, going back out, there's a completely different meaning and tension."

As the ballroom pro explained, her journey has served as a source of inspiration.

"I almost need to rename the tour to the Miracle Tour or something," he noted, "because if there's a moment where she's with us and joining us on stage, it's going to be unbelievably special. I don't know even know how I'm going to through it. I'm an emotional guy."

Her possible return to the spotlight comes three months after Hayley became disoriented during a Symphony of Dance Tour performance and was taken to the hospital.

Derek Hough & Hayley Erbert: Romance Rewind

"She was diagnosed with a cranial hematoma from a burst blood vessel and required an emergency craniectomy," Derek wrote on Instagram Dec. 7. "She is in stable condition."

A few weeks later, the 29-year-old underwent a cranioplasty. Since that time, Hayley has been in recovery, with Derek by her side. 

"It's been quite the journey," she said in a Feb. 5 Instagram video. "There's been so much that has happened in two months."

"To this day, I still have really good days and I have really bad days—emotionally and physically sometimes—but I'm doing so much better every single day," she added. "Truly there is so much progress every day and I'm so grateful for that."

Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for National Alliance on Mental Illness Westside Los Angeles

In addition to Derek, Hayley also found support in her sister-in-law, Julianne Hough.

"The more you can trust yourself and know you're in a secure place, then you can have the capacity for others," the Dancing With the Stars host recently told E! News. "With their situation, being able to be a very stable force was needed—and I think appreciated because I could get the things done that they weren't thinking about."

Twirl on through their love story with these sweet photos:

October 2015: Hayley Joins Dancing With the Stars

Derek Hough and Hayley Erbert meet back in 2014 when she performed on his and sister Julianne Hough's tour. A Dancing With the Stars producer is impressed with Hayley and she is called to interview to join the show's troupe, getting the job the following year, according to the Hutchington News. Also in 2015, she and Derek begin dating.

July 2016: Derek & Hayley Step Out

The two begin going out to public events, including at the 2016 premiere of the Tony Robbins Netflix documentary I Am Not Your Guru.

September 2016: Creative Arts Emmys Governors Ball

The duo get glammed up for a star-studded night out.

August 2017: Red Carpet Debut

The dancers make their red carpet debut as a couple at the Television Academy's 2017 Choreography Peer Group Celebration at Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, Calif.

September 2017: Emmys Date

Hayley joins Derek as his date for the Creative Arts Emmys, where he was nominated for Outstanding Choreography for his work on Dancing With the Stars.

October 2017: Happy Halloween

The two attend the star-studded Casamigos Halloween Party.

November 2017: Christmas Tree Lighting

Hayley joins Derek as he hosts The Americana at Brand shopping mall's Christmas tree lighting event in Glendale, Calif.

May 2018: May the Force Be With You

The two attend the Hollywood premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

September 2018: Emmys After-Party Date

The couple steps out at HBO's post-Emmys celebration.

October 2019: They Are the Ones Who Hug

They aren't pumping the brakes as they attend the premiere of Netflix's El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.

February 2020: Oscars Party Date

The two pose for pics at the Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar viewing party.

November 2020: Disney Holiday Singalong

Feeling festive, they dance on the special to ring in the Christmas season.

August 2021: Respect Premiere

The two are all smiles at the premiere in Los Angeles.

August 2021: Emmy Winner

The partners appear at the Creative Arts Emmys, where Derek wins Outstanding Choreography for Variety or Reality Programming for his work on Dancing with the Stars.

March 2022: Oscars Party Dance

The two dance as they arrive at the 2022 Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscars viewing party.

May 2022: Top Gun: Maverick Premiere

They look top tier on the red carpet.

June 2022: Engaged

Hayley flashes her engagement ring at the Critics Choice Real TV Awards.

June 2023: Elemental Premiere

The two get cozy at the launch of the Disney-Pixar film.

August 2023: Just Married and Honeymoon

The couple honeymoon in Italy following their Aug. 26, 2023 wedding in California.

December 2023: In Sickness and in Health

Derek was by Hayley's side as she underwent emergency skull surgery due to a burst blood vessel. "It was a time filled with uncertainty and fear, going from living our dreams onstage, to a nightmare in an instant," he wrote on Instagram over a week later. "Her recovery process has been nothing short of a miracle."

Head to E! Online's Oscars page for a full recap of the 2024 Academy Awards.