Maddie Ziegler Shares Apology From Mom Over 'Dance Moms' Years

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Melissa Ziegler has formally issued an apology to her eldest daughter, Maddie, over their time spent on Lifetime's controversial series Dance Moms.

The former child star shared some of what her mom said to her during a recent interview on Emily Ratajkowski's podcast, High Low With EmRata, revealing that during a panic attack last year, in the middle of which she called her mom, certain things from the past were dredged up.

The now-20-year-old picked up a lot of traits during her time on the show, many of which she says she's trying to unlearn now. "You have to be the best. If you don't win, you're not good," she gave as an example of the thought process she grew up with while dancing under Abby Lee Miller. "It's an ongoing battle."

Just last year, she had a "really bad" panic attack. "I called my mom and things were coming up from the past, and she apologized to me," Maddie revealed. "She was like, 'I'm so sorry that I put you through that.' And it's so sad, because she would never want to hurt us, but none of us knew how crazy it would get."

Unfortunately, it was crazy from the start.

Maddie recalled being "perceived as a little brat in the first season" because of the script that crew members gave her. "When I was doing the show, in the first season I was seven, there were male producers saying, 'This is what you have to say,'" she explained. "My mom wasn't in the room, so I was like, 'Okay, I just have to do whatever I'm being told.' They would say, 'Say you're the best, say you're better than everyone else, say blah blah blah.'"

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When everyone got together to watch the very first episode at a launch party, she cried over the way she was portrayed. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh. Everyone thinks I'm this bitch and I'm not. I'm seven!'"

Most viewers also assumed she was "the most well-treated dancer," thanks to the editing, but she actually had some of the highest pressure on her shoulders. "...she was like, 'You're my girl, so you have to lead everyone to victory every time,' which is just not sustainable," she added.

At the time, Maddie was too young to realize she could stand up for herself. In retrospect, she said, "It helped me a lot to be able to be like, 'I can say [no]. I can stand up for myself.'"

Finally, around 11 or 12 years old, Melissa was able to break their contract with the show. Maddie said her mom "did everything" to free them from the nearly 30-episode seasons, which "consumed [their] lives."

The show scouted Maddie when she was just six or seven years old, so even when they left she'd already been working for half her life.

Since she started so young, she barely remembers what life was like beforehand, sharing that she's "blocked out so much of my childhood that I actually don't know what my life was like even just before working."

TikTok has clued her into a lot of things she doesn't remember, as fans upload old clips. "It's weird to find out things that I did when I was younger on TikTok. I'll see people posting things of me, and I'm like, 'I don't even remember doing that,'" she said.