Derek Hough Fights Back Tears While Remembering Len Goodman

Derek Hough is cherishing all of the memories with his late Dancing with the Stars mentor, Len Goodman.

A longtime and fan-favorite judge on the ABC series, Goodman died on Saturday, April 22, while in hospice in England. He was 78.

Following his death and the abundance of condolences and kind words from celebrities and the DWTS family, Hough recently spoke out about the memory of his late friend, revealing that he was completely blindsided to learn of his death.

While making an appearance on Jana Kramer's Whine Down podcast, Hough got emotional as he talked about Goodman, whom he worked with for years as both a pro dancer and judge on the long-running ballroom dancing competition show.

While he said he knew Goodman was "unwell," the veteran DWTS dancer claimed he "had no idea the extent" of Goodman's illness, which has since been revealed as bone cancer.

After sounding like he was fighting back tears during the Monday, May 1 podcast episode, Hough, 37, apologized, to which Kramer, 39, replied, "You cry, we cry. That's how it goes around here."

"I feel incredibly emotional and sad about it," Hough said, adding that he really "savored the moments I spent with him" during Goodman's last season on the show in 2022.

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"We were playful with each other and we had these one-on-one conversations," he stated. "Even before the last day, I walked in my dressing room and there's this giant picture of Len framed, beautiful gold frame, and it's a picture of him and it had this handwritten message from him."

"It was so beautiful but also, like, inappropriate humor, like funny," he recalled. "It was a hilarious thing he wrote, as well, and it was signed by him."

He added that he was "so touched and moved by that, thinking how our lives were so intertwined."

Hough and Goodman had known each other for decades, meeting for the first time when the Make Your Move alum was only 12 years old.

"I keep thinking back on some of these memories and these moments, thinking, again, just how fortunate we were to have him for so long on that show, at least. But he certainly went far too soon in life," Hough added, noting that he plans to honor Goodman's memory in some way on his upcoming fall tour, Symphony of Dance.

Next: Tom Bergeron Reveals the Upsetting Way He Learned of Len Goodman's Passing