Tonya Harding tears up admitting she 'lost' herself ahead of 'Dancing With the Stars' (Exclusive)

Tonya Harding is headed to Dancing With the Stars for the show's upcoming all-athletes season, and the former figure skater is getting emotional about her return to the spotlight.

Harding and her DWTS partner, Sasha Farber, spoke with ET's Lauren Zima during rehearsals for the reality competition show, and she opened up about having lost her way in life, and how dancing has helped her find her path.

"I just have lost myself over the years. And my son and my husband have kept me alive. But this truly [is] something here," Harding shared. 

"I went back to skating a year ago because… there was just something missing, you know? And obviously I have my son, and nothing is missing from that, but there was just something about me. I wanted to do more," she continued, getting choked up. "And when I had got that call, like now, I started crying."

Tonya Harding through the years
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Tonya Harding through the years
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - CIRCA 1991: Figure Skater Tonya Harding of the United States competes in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships circa 1991 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
OAKLAND - 1991: Tonya Harding of the USA performs in the fall Skate America figure skating competition held in 1991 at the Oakland-Alameda County Arena in Oakland, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
American figure skater Tonya Harding performs at the 1991 World Championships. (Photo by Gilbert Iundt; Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/TempSport/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1992: Figure Skater Tonya Harding of the United States competes in a figure skating competition circa 1992. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding posing in front of brown backdrop (no caps). (Photo by Rex Rystedt/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, : U.S. figure skating champion Tonya Harding (R) listens to her coach Diane Rawlinson during a practice session early 18 January 1994 in Portland, Oregon. Federal and local investigators are trying to determine if Tonya Harding's money, some of it from Olympic sources, paid for the attack on figure skating rival Nancy Kerrigan. (Photo credit should read POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 24: Young fans of U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding look on while she takes a break from training at the Clackamas Town Center mall rink, 24 January 1994, as a grand jury continues its meetings on whether to indict her in the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. A news report in the Portland Oregonian newspaper said prosecutors have enough evidence to charge Harding. (Photo credit should read EUGENE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 27: U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding reads from a prepared text 27 January 1994 during a press conference at the Multnomah County Athletic Club, Oregon. Harding admitted that she failed to tell authorities what she knew about the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan. Harding also denied planning to injure Kerrigan and asked to remain on the U.S. Olympic team. (Photo credit should read CRAIG STRONG/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonya Harding (L) and Nancy Kerrigan, both from USA, during a training session of the 1994 Winter Olympics. It's just one month after Harding became notorious for allegedly conspiring to harm competitor Nancy Kerrigan in an attack. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 9: Tonya Harding sits for an interview in Portland. OR. for the program 'Eye to Eye with Connie Chung.' Image dated February 9, 1994. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
HAMAR - FEBRUARY 17: U.S.A. figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan, background, and Tonya Harding, foreground, face each other on the ice during a practice session at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Hamar, Norway on Feb. 17, 1994. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY - FEBRUARY 23: Tonya Harding of the USA competes in the Technical Program portion of the Women's Figure Skating competition of the 1994 Winter Olympics on February 23, 1994 at the Hamar Olympic Hall in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY - FEBRUARY 25: Tonya Harding of the USA competes in the Free Skate portion of the Women's Figure Skating competition of the 1994 Winter Olympics on February 25, 1994 at the Hamar Olympic Hall in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
FILES, NORWAY - DECEMBER 15: US figure skaters Tonya Harding (L) and Nancy Kerrigan avoid each other during a training session 17 February in Hamar, Norway, during the Winter Olympics. Kerrigan was hit on the knee in January 1994 during the US Olympic Trials and it was later learned that Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard masterminded the attack in hopes of improving Harding's chances at the US Trials and the Olympics. (COLOR KEY: Harding has yellow) (Photo credit should read VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images)
Tonya Harding and Paula Jones square off at the official weigh-in for 'Celebrity Boxing.' The televison show will air March 13 on Fox TV. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)
CAMUS, WA - AUGUST 8: Former Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding speaks to reporters about her sentencing, as she exits the Camus/Washougal Municipal Court on August 8, 2002 in Camus, Washington. Harding was sentenced to 30 days detention, with 20 days suspended, for violating her probation from an assault case after admitting she was driving drunk when arrested in April of 2002. (Photo by Greg Wahl-Stephens/Getty Images)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 13: Tonya Harding attends the opening weekend of Smokin' Joe Frazier's Sportzbox at Bally's Atlantic City on June 13, 2009 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 05: Tonya Harding attends Premiere Of Neon's 'I, Tonya' at the Egyptian Theatre on December 5, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Tonya Harding and Margot Robbie attend NEON and 30WEST Present the Los Angeles Premiere of 'I, Tonya' Supported By Svedka on December 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for NEON)

Harding gained infamy in 1994 after an attack on skating rival Nancy Kerrigan -- who previously competed on season 24 of DWTS. The controversy surrounding the notorious attack was detailed in last year's stylized bio-pic about Harding's life, I, Tonya, in which she was played by Margot Robbie.

ET spoke with Harding earlier this month, where she was asked if she felt America was ready to embrace her.

"Does it matter? It doesn't really matter. I'm just honored to be part of this and very humbled as well," Harding said, adding, "I'm very honored that Sasha is my partner. He is going to take me to places I have never been."

Dancing With the Stars' all-athlete season premieres Monday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.


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