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Cat Deeley Says New “SYTYCD” Judge Allison Holker Is 'Not Afraid to Talk About' Late Husband tWitch (Exclusive)

Deeley also remembers Stephen "tWitch" Boss and the legacy he left behind, telling PEOPLE he was "one of the most genuinely charming, gentle giants of a man you could ever hope to meet"

<p>Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty; Michael Tullberg/Getty </p> Cat Deeley (left) and Allison Holker Boss

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty; Michael Tullberg/Getty

Cat Deeley (left) and Allison Holker Boss

Cat Deeley continues to be impressed by Allison Holker Boss's strength on set of So You Think You Can Dance.

As season 18 of the hit competition show begins, Deeley, 47, tells PEOPLE she finds Allison's positive attitude inspiring after the 2022 death of her husband Stephen "tWitch" Boss.

“I think if you try and put yourself in somebody else's shoes, I think this is the only way you could cope with such a loss and such a tragedy is, in some way, shape or form, use this terrible, heartbreaking situation that happened to help somebody else,” Deeley explains. “Because unless you can somehow turn it positive in some way, shape, or form, it is going to just destroy you to your very soul.”

Related: Cat Deeley Remembers SYTYCD Colleague Stephen 'tWitch' Boss as a 'Charming, Gentle Giant' (Exclusive)

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage</p> Allison Holker Boss and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Allison Holker Boss and Stephen "tWitch" Boss

Stephen died suddenly at age 40 on Dec. 13, 2022. He and Allison met on SYTYCD in 2010 and got married in December 2013. The two share three children together: Weslie Renae, 15, Maddox Laurel, 7, and Zaia, 3.

Allison, 36, joined the judges' panel for the newest season of SYTYCD after previously competing on the show. Stephen also appeared as a judge on the show in seasons 15 and 17.

Related: Allison Holker Says tWitch Will 'Forever Be an Icon' After Emotional SYTYCD Audition Inspired by Loss (Exclusive)

Speaking about Allison's involvement on the series, Deeley is hopeful that her presence will open communication about mental health and grief among viewers.

“I think what she does brilliantly — and I don't know if I could do it, I have to say, I don't know if I could — she handles her three kids, she comes to work, but she's not afraid to talk about it and she's not afraid to talk about him,” the actress says. “The only way that we move forward from this is by everybody having an open dialogue.”

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She continues: “Because the more people talk, the better it is for everybody. And the more you realize we can do something, we can help or the problem isn't that big, or maybe we can break it down to feel bite-sized, everything will be okay."

<p>Kevin Winter/TCA 2010/Getty</p> Stephen "tWitch" Boss (left) and Cat Deeley at the Teen Choice Awards in 2010

Kevin Winter/TCA 2010/Getty

Stephen "tWitch" Boss (left) and Cat Deeley at the Teen Choice Awards in 2010

Related: A Look Back at Stephen 'tWitch' Boss and Allison Holker Boss's Relationship Timeline: 'My Forever Person'

Deeley remembers the joy Stephen brought to the set, and how his story represented the mission of the series. She says whenever he couldn’t do something, he tried again and never gave up.

“He was such a good example of having a passion but not necessarily being technically trained,” she recalls. “He tried out three times. He tried out, he got ‘no’ twice, and came back. And he didn't win, but he went on to have this amazing career — he was on Ellen [DeGeneres's talk show], he was in Magic Mike. He was also one of the most genuinely charming, gentle giants of a man you could ever hope to meet.”

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For those competing on season 18, Deeley hopes contestants learn from Stephen and be present in the journey the show takes them on.

“Enjoy every single moment,” she says. “Think of yourself as a little old man or a little old lady, and what will you want to remember to tell your grandchildren?”

So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

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