It’s true to say that a stint in jail offers a chance for reflection and can often change a person for the better. But during her time inside, Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller has altered herself in more ways than one. And Miller’s new appearance has already caused a stir on social media.
While some people are said to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth, it seems Abby Lee Miller was born with dancing shoes on her feet. Indeed, as the daughter of a well-respected dance instructor, Miller seemed destined for a life of steps and sequins. And the soon-to-be bopper certainly didn’t disappoint.
After taking lessons from mom Maryen Lorrain, Miller ventured into instruction herself. And by the age of 14, the budding entrepreneur had already started her own dance company. This soon developed into a fully-fledged enterprise when Miller subsequently opened up her own studio.
Following this early success, Miller’s dance empire further expanded, and many of her students progressed to bigger things on Broadway. However, though no real lover of the spotlight herself, the instructor would go on to find similar recognition. In fact, fame came calling in 2011 when she became a star thanks to a little show called Dance Moms.
Furthermore, the reality series – which followed Miller and her young students through rehearsals and performances – was an immediate hit with fans. Indeed, at its peak the show brought in nearly three million viewers each week. And with her cruel-to-be-kind schtick, Miller crafted a perfect, acid-tongued persona.
However, while she may have pleased TV audiences, Miller was less popular amongst her fellow professionals. Indeed, concerned by Miller’s turn on the show, the Dance Masters of America stripped the instructor of her membership in 2012. “This is a total misrepresentation of our dance educators and their students,” wrote DMA president Phyllis R. Guy in a statement.
But worse was to come for the reality star as an increased public visibility led to interest in her past. In particular, the dancer’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2010 led to some scrutiny from the authorities. And their search soon uncovered a few skeletons that Miller had tried to bury.
It turned out that, despite owing over $400,000 to the IRS, Miller had been accumulating a secret cache of funds. In fact, from 2012 to 2013, the star had failed to report more than $750,000 of earnings which she had stashed away in an undeclared account. Naturally, this put the already under-fire Miller into some very hot water.
As the heat began to engulf her, Miller found her life and career falling to pieces. In March 2017 the TV personality left the show that made her a star following what she claimed was an ongoing feud with her producers. “I just have a problem with being manipulated, disrespected and used,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.
Soon after leaving the show, the dance instructor arrived in court to hear the verdict of her trial. After pleading guilty to fraud the previous year, Miller received no leniency in her sentence. So, not only was she forced to pay $40,000 in fines following her conviction, but she also received 366 days in jail.
But while some would see such a drastic sentence as cause for alarm, Miller actually saw a silver lining to her strife. “I’ve always put everybody else’s child first before my own health, before my own outfit, before my own time frame,” she told ET prior to arriving at prison. “I think this will be a little ‘me’ time.”
Moreover, the instructor made a somewhat unusual decision regarding her own health shortly before heading to prison. Ahead of hearing her sentence, Miller received a sleeve gastrectomy – a procedure that reduced her stomach size by 80 per cent. As a result, the surgery would help the star lose weight – or so she hoped.
On the procedure – which she would later film and document on her YouTube channel – Miller told ET, “People are saying, ‘But your sentencing is coming up in a couple of weeks!’ And that is true, and I’m really nervous about that – more so than the surgery – but there’s no right time.”
There’s probably no “right time” to enter jail either, but on entering the Victorville Federal Correctional Institute in July 2017, Miller discovered a routine vastly different to her showbiz lifestyle. Nevertheless, the star’s mealtime options included a whole range of tasty and nutritious food, including soy burgers, chicken wraps and an array of fruit and vegetables.
Moreover, after half a year spent in the slammer, Miller was already beginning to show signs of improvement. Indeed, on January 19, 2018, ET reported that the star had slimmed down by about 100 pounds. Apparently, she was also contemplating further procedures, including the removal of surplus skin, to complement her new appearance.
Then, two days later, the instructor herself confirmed the story with a snap uploaded to her Instagram account. Taken during a prison visit with Miller’s Dance Moms co-stars, the image shows a smiling and slim Miller staring back at the camera. Certainly, her new look is drastically different from what we’ve become accustomed to.
Besides showing off how much Miller has changed physically, the post – which has since been deleted – also displays hints that she’s changed as a person as well. In the accompanying caption, Miller wrote, “I trusted the wrong people and didn’t pay attention to things I should have. I’m more than sorry for the mistakes I have made.”
In addition, Miller also detailed her life in prison and how much she’s attempted to right her wrongs. “I have made friends with both inmates and staff,” she explained. “I’ve tried to better myself, participated in anything offered to me, and I am a better person for this experience.”
But that’s not the only good news that the star had to offer. In response to claims by ET that she would see an earlier than expected release in February, Miller hinted that parole could well be a possibility. “I am feeling hopeful, but no dates have been confirmed at this time,” she wrote.
Whatever the outcome, Miller has already seen results from her time in prison. Along with her weight loss, the star seems set to start her life afresh, something she confirmed in her Instagram post. “I am feeling great and ready to turn over a new leaf,” she wrote. Let’s all hope that Miller will be able to swing her life around and look forward to a brighter future.