Tom DeLay's Candidate Quicksteps Out of 'Dancing'

By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tom DeLay's efforts to seize control of the voting on ABC's hit reality series "Dancing With the Stars" came crashing down this week when his candidate, country crooner Sara Evans, abruptly quit the show and filed for divorce.

Evans will explain in an interview to be taped for Tuesday's broadcast why she is leaving the show, her attorney of record for the divorce, John Hollins Jr., told The TV Column.

In divorce papers filed Thursday, Evans contends hubby Craig Schelske cheated on her, verbally abused her, drank excessively and often watched porn in their house. In a news release yesterday, Schelske "adamantly" denied the allegations.

Additionally, Evans said in her filing, her husband has photographs of himself having sex with other women and has at least 100 nude photos of himself in a state similar to that of my 4-year-old Yorkshire terrier after playing with his favorite plush toy, Mr. Humpy-Fox.

Evans also says that Schelske watched porn on their computer and made requests online for sex with multiple partners.

Evans has a lot to say about her husband.

For instance, she says in the court papers, late last month he screamed at her that she could not let a costume designer for "Dancing With the Stars" into their temporary L.A. home because the costume designer was a "sodomite." She also claims he told her one of their children broke out in hives upon seeing the costume designer.

They have three children, ages 7, 3 and 2.

In his statement, put out by a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman, Schelske said, "I have made the decision to forgive Sara for the unfortunate campaign that she and her publicity advisors are currently waging. . . . Sara has unfortunately become a dramatically different person over the last year and it is something we have struggled to deal with. Sadly, it appears we have failed.

"The best I can do at this difficult time is ask that people of faith would pray for her and for my family."

The spokesman for Schelske told The TV Column that "he was completely caught off guard. He does not want to play this out in the media."

Evans rep at music label Sony BMG Music Entertainment, said in a statement: "Recent events that shed light on the status of her marriage prompted Ms. Evans to make the filing.

"Ms. Evans felt it was in her children's best interest that she also withdraw from competition on 'Dancing With the Stars' to give her family her full attention at this difficult time," the statement continued. "Ms. Evans hopes that her fans and TV viewers who've supported her in recent weeks and throughout her music career will respect and understand her need for privacy in the face of these recent events."

ABC has been "wonderful under the circumstances and . . . very supportive," Hollins told The TV Column.

When DeLay resigned from Congress, several months after stepping down as House majority leader last September after a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges stemming from a campaign finance investigation, he said he would continue "to engage in the important cultural and political battles of our day."

Who knew that would include a campaign to squash liberal "Dancing With the Stars" contestants -- like Jerry Springer.

Shortly before the show debuted, DeLay sent out a blast e-mail, asking his supporters to vote for Evans on the dancing competition series because she had been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and "represents good American values in the media" while "ultra liberal talk show host Jerry Springer" does not.

"We need to send a message to Hollywood and the media that smut has no place on television," DeLay said.

Ironically, at the time, there was some speculation DeLay's endorsement of Evans had something to do with her husband, who ran unsuccessfully for political office in Oregon four years ago and whose résumé includes chairman of Craig PAC, a national political action committee dedicated to electing Republicans at the federal and state level, and executive director of the conservative organization American Destiny Inc.

The Tennessean reported Thursday that news of the split "stunned Music Row . . . because Evans and Schelske . . . were considered to have one of the strongest marriages in country music."

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