updated 09/26/2012 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/26/2012 AT 7:30 AM ET
On a high-tension night, Pamela Anderson went from the raucous and ultimately unforgiving ballroom to the quiet comfort of family.
“It’s tough,” said her pro partner Tristan MacManus after the actress was the first to be booted from Dancing with the Stars: All Stars Tuesday. “Pam has her family. That’s who she wants to be with.”
Anderson, 45, skipped the post-show media interviews and let MacManus speak to the letdown they both felt when host Tom Bergeron announced that the combined audience and judge scores landed in her last place.
It was not a complete surprise.
Still, her fate was not sealed until the very end of the show – much to the relief of Drew Lachey, the season 2 champ in 2006 who got a big shock when he finished in second-to-last place.
“It’s frightening,” says Lachey, 36, who’s blogging about his return to DWTS for PEOPLE.com. “I don’t want to leave this place. I really enjoy it here. I’m so happy to be back. The idea that it might be ending sooner than later, that would be heartbreaking.”
Which was how both Anderson and MacManus reacted.
“She apologized,” said MacManus. “She felt like she let me down. My assurances were that she didn’t. Obviously she was disappointed to go early, which I was myself. But someone has to leave so others can move on.”