Bob D'Amico/ABC
Lynette Rice
May 09, 2012 AT 04:54 AM EDT

Some birthday present for Melissa Gilbert!

But the former star of Little House on the Prairie chose not to feel sorry for herself after Tuesday’s installment of Dancing with the Stars, when she became the latest celebrity to leave the dance floor. (And on her birthday, to boot!) “Every day above ground is a good day. So I am okay,” she told reporters afterwards. “I did things that I thought I could never do in my life, so we are definitely going out on a high note and last night was unbelievable.”

“I’m very proud,” added her partner Maksim Chermkovskiy. ” We set a goal that we’d be here till week four. We didn’t want to go during the dance duels and that’s exactly what happened. We are very proud, and while the competitor in me will never be okay with a loss, the dancer in me did not want to see Katherine go home. There are five amazing couples left, and they were amazing since day one, and have proven with the scores that they are amazing and it would’ve sucked to see Katherine get eliminated on a mistake. So she has another chance and hopefully they will use it well.”

For anyone keeping track at home, Gilbert dropped two dress sizes during the show’s run. She’s now a 2 and has a 26-inch waist (commence gasps!). She’s also breathing a lot easier during workouts. “I learned a lot about my physical endurance and had never worked this hard, to the point where in the beginning, I would be wheezing in rehearsals,” the actress recalled. “And I don’t even have asthma, and it was extraordinary, it actually hurt to breathe. Now I look at the dances and the critiques we were getting from the judges in the beginning and I’d be huffing and puffing and he would be perfectly still, now we catch a breath at the same time. That’s amazing.”

“Okay honey,” Chermovskiy interjected. “I don’t know about the same time.”

“Well close,” Gilbert replied. “I am 16 years older than you.”

Her lippy partner then admitted that he didn’t pick up much about Gilbert’s previous life when tripping the light fantastic. “I still don’t know what house on the prairie is. I’ve heard a lot about it, over and over and I’m like okay I get it  – It’s the 1800s and somebody lives somewhere,” he admitted. “But I don’t really care about the half pint, I care about Melissa Gilbert and that’s the person I got to know and the person I got to love. It’s a tough show but there’s always something positive when you come out of it, and I try to get a lot of positive out of it. Clearly I have never won and I’m not going to lie to you, today it didn’t feel like a fan vote, it felt like some other vote, but it is what it is and I have been here before.”

As for Chermkovskiy’s future on the show, he only had this to say: “That’s the million-dollar question. Again, first of all once again it’s not up to us. We get asked back,  but it will come down to what I need for me and I think for me, I have made enough friends so… I would’ve been upset if I didn’t come back this season, I would’ve missed out on Melissa. So I will think about it.”

He then took a swipe at DWTS editing when someone asked if Gilbert understood him more than any of his other partners. “I think that what you guys don’t get the chance to really understand and see what really happens and therefore you pass judgment on, and rightfully so, based on the limited information that you get from rehearsal footage and after the show,” he said. “I actually thought about it today, we really don’t get to speak or say anything. We get to be montaged and that kind of sucks, Val and I are not one line type of people, my thoughts are complicated paragraphs and they run in sentences, I didn’t know how to give you a short soundbite, so I don’t know, I wish something could be done about this but again it’s not my show.” — With reporting from Steve Gidlow

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