Denise Richards Is Booted from Dancing

03/25/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT

Denise Richards Is Booted from Dancing
Craig Sjodin/ABC

For Denise Richards, ballroom dancing turned out to be a little more complicated than she anticipated.

The 38-year-old actress and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were eliminated Tuesday night on Dancing with the Stars after performing a samba dance-off against fellow contestant, reality star Holly Madison and her partner, Dmitry Chaplin.

“I had fun! When else am I going to get to dress up like this, work with someone like Maks and be able to do a family show that my daughters can watch together,” Richards told PEOPLE minutes after the live results show ended. Remarkably upbeat, Richards expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to dance with Chmerkovskiy.

“I feel bad for him. He hasn’t won and I think this is the first time he’s been eliminated second,” Richards said, giving her partner a hug.

“It’s fine. It’s all a show,” Chmerkovskiy assured. I wish we could stay as long as we could because I could see very big improvements with her week in, week out.” In fact, those improvements were seen on Tuesday's results show when Richards redeemed herself in her samba dance-off. She scored four points better from the judges-- receiving a 20 out of 30 -- than her first attempt Monday night.

Richards says her time at the ballroom was well spent, but she’s happy to return to life at home with daughters, Lola and Sam.

“They love watching us. We TiVo the show and we watch it together, but every time I have to go to rehearsal they go ‘too much dancing.’ It’s hard to find balance,” Richards says. “I think they will be relieved it’s over.” --Monica Rizzo

Craig Sjodin/ABC

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