“Dance Moms”' Chloé Lukasiak Says 10-Year Reunion Special Made Her Realize 'I Should Probably Go to Therapy' (Exclusive)

The highly anticipated two-hour special will premiere May 1 on Lifetime

<p>Birdie Thompson/Variety via Getty</p> Chloe Lukasiak

Birdie Thompson/Variety via Getty

Chloe Lukasiak

When Chloé Lukasiak reunited with her Dance Moms costars 10 years after the series finale, she made some startling discoveries about herself and her wellbeing.

In an exclusive conversation with PEOPLE, the Lifetime alum, 22, delves deep into what went down when the cast came together for the first time to discuss their experiences on the reality dance series for its highly anticipated reunion special.

"It made me realize I should probably go to therapy," she laughs. "I got things I need to heal from, but it was good to look back and just appreciate. I didn't expect it at all when they brought up the idea of a reunion. I was just like, 'Yeah, that sounds good.'"

Lukasiak says her emotions didn't hit her until she filmed her last one-on-one interview and realized the special would be closing an important chapter of her life. Despite keeping in touch with the girls over the years, the former reality star notes that the timing of the reunion "made the most sense" as her costars needed time away to process their time on the show.

Romain Maurice/Getty Chloé Lukasiak
Romain Maurice/Getty Chloé Lukasiak

Related: JoJo Siwa Calls Out Missing OGs at Dance Moms: The Reunion as Cast Agrees Show Is 'Why You Are Who You Are'

"I think immediately after the show, we all needed our space in some way," she explains. "Whether we left in season 4 or season 5 or 8 or whatever. I think after an emotionally charged environment like that, I think you need to step away, heal, just take time for yourself."

It was important for the girls to "be their own person outside of the show," says Lukasiak.

For her, it was imperative to form her own identity in order to come back, "say goodbye and move on while showing my appreciation for the experience and everything it gave me."

In November 2023, Lifetime announced that the cast of Dance Moms would be returning to screens for a special reunion episode that would premiere on May 1. Lukasiak, JoJo Siwa, Paige Hyland, Brooke Hyland, Kendall Vertes and Kalani Hilliker will come together to look back at the show's most controversial moments and answer burning questions from fans.

<p>Dance Moms/Instagram</p> (L-R) Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, Brooke Hyland, Kendall Vertes and Kalani Hilliker film the 'Dance Moms' reunion special

Dance Moms/Instagram

(L-R) Chloé Lukasiak, Paige Hyland, Brooke Hyland, Kendall Vertes and Kalani Hilliker film the 'Dance Moms' reunion special

Related: Maddie Ziegler Calls 'Dance Moms' 'Toxic' and Feels 'at Peace' with Abby Lee Miller out of Her Life

When the network debuted the trailer for the reunion, other OG cast members like Nia Sioux, Maddie Ziegler and her sister Mackenzie "Kenzie" Ziegler were noticeably absent.

"I'm always happy when we can all get together, but people, they either wanted to come or they didn't," Lukasiak tells PEOPLE of those who chose to opt-out. "It can be a really traumatic thing to talk about, so I understand if people needed their space. Personally speaking, I was ready to talk about it and like I said, close the chapter, but for some people they might want to just step away from it."

<p>Karolina Wojtasik/Lifetime Television/courtesy Everett</p> Abby Lee Miller on 'Dance Moms'

Karolina Wojtasik/Lifetime Television/courtesy Everett

Abby Lee Miller on 'Dance Moms'

Sioux and the Ziegler sisters aren't the only cast members who will be missing in action. Their former dance coach, Abby Lee Miller, was nowhere to be seen in Lifetime's teaser and a source told PEOPLE that some of the appearing cast had conditions to their participation.

"At this point, everyone has gone through different eras, had time to reflect and there’s been a lot that Abby put them through emotionally and physically and they just didn’t want to relive that," the insider revealed in March. "Some of those involved decided that they would only be a part of the reunion if Abby wasn’t. The girls were able to speak their minds more openly without her there."

With the special close to air, Lukasiak tells PEOPLE that she's ready to put the series behind her and step back into the spotlight by closing the door on her time as a child star.

<p>Lifetime</p> Chloe Lukasiak on 'Dance Moms'


Chloe Lukasiak on 'Dance Moms'

Related: JoJo Siwa Defends Abby Lee Miller's 'Tough Love' Coaching Style on Dance Moms, Says Their Relationship Is 'Amazing'

"I'm happy to show my appreciation, but it's not something I want to drag along my whole life. Obviously, it largely defined who I became, but it doesn't define who I am," she says.

"So I am always grateful for it," she continues, before declaring with a triumphant glow, "But I'm ready to leave it in the past and move on as Chloé Lukasiak, not Chloé from Dance Moms."

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Dance Moms: The Reunion premieres Wednesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

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