"That's heartbreaking because we are so close, all of us. It's really sad, but at the same [time], it's a mixed bag of emotions because Eve wants to start a family," Inaba told ET's Lauren Zima via Zoom, following Dancing With the Stars' Icons Night on Monday. "She's glowing. Something is right for her to be where she is."
"We miss her. We haven't hugged her for a long time and today it was her birthday episode at The Talk and it was a bummer to not be with her," she continued. "We're all close. We text all the time and we're sad that she's leaving. But at the same time, when you love somebody, you've got to set them free."
Noting that The Talk family "doesn't end, it just grows," Inaba said the show is already searching for Eve's replacement.
"Yes, we're looking," Inaba confirmed. "We're going to make sure that while no one -- let's just make sure -- no one can replace Eve, we are going to look for somebody that brings a lot to the show and we will do our audience proud, I promise you."
Inaba has her own list of requirements for a potential replacement for Eve.
"I just want somebody that's current, of the moment, educated, compassionate, that knows how to be a team player because when you're on a talk show like that and you go to work every day, the chemistry is important," she shared. "We need to make sure there's the right chemistry, but we want somebody who has an interesting viewpoint, something new, brings something to the table, maybe doesn't always agree with us."
"That's important," she added. "That's how life is. Life is not about us all agreeing, it's about how you manage when you don't agree."
Eve made her announcement during last Monday's show. "Sitting on stage with all you women has been the best thing ever," she told Inaba and the other co-hosts. "I truly love you."
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. In the meantime, tune into Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday to hear more from Inaba and the season 29 contestants. Check your local listings here.