ET spoke with the 'Catfish' star ahead of Monday's 'DWTS' finale, which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The Catfish star revealed via Instagram that he and his wife, Laura Perlongo, battled the coronavirus back in March. "It was really scary as there was so little information available and we were terrified that our kids would get sick too," he recalled. "For over three weeks, my constant fatigue, headaches and difficulty breathing was awful and the stress of wondering if my symptoms would worsen was horrifying."
Now, ahead of the season 29 finale of Dancing With the Stars, Nev is opening up to ET about his recovery, and whether any long-term complications have affected his energy level on the dance competition show.
"Fortunately, I sort of made a full recovery in terms of cardio abilities earlier this summer," the TV host said.
Nev shared, however, that he did experience what dermatologists are referring to as "COVID toes." According to The New York Times, some people who've tested positive for the coronavirus have seen swelling and discoloration on the toes "as yet another telltale symptom" of infection. "Usually it's a good sign your body has seen COVID and is making a good immune reaction to it," Dr. Lindy Fox, a dermatologist in San Francisco, told the outlet, about the unusual side effect.
"Throughout the summer and fall I have had this sort of weird toe injury and achiness, you could say, which is pretty common," Nev revealed to ET. "I don't have it so much anymore, but they will start hurting [sometimes]. It has not, fortunately, inhibited my dancing abilities."
When asked why he decided to share his coronavirus story now, Nev said, "First of all, just so everyone knows. Be careful, obviously now more than ever, with cases on the rise."
"Looking back at the season of Dancing, and really reflecting on this year and all the things that brought me to this point, it just served as a really appropriate metaphor: how some things cannot be great and going poorly, but then an amazing opportunity will strike," he said. "Despite the tragedy of COVID, of course, in this pandemic, not filming Catfish on the road oddly opened up an opportunity for me to be in one place and be on the show. I am so grateful, and I just feel like that was something I wanted to share."
During Monday's DWTS finale, Nev and his pro partner, Jenna Johnson, will be competing for the mirrorball trophy against Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev, Nelly and Daniella Karagach, and Justina Machado and Sasha Farber.
Each finalist will have to dance twice. For Nev and Jenna, they'll first repeat their Black Swan-inspired Paso Doble, which marked the season's first perfect score. They'll then perform a final Freestyle routine to "Singin' in the Rain," which will be their last chance to impress judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough, and America.
Nev told ET he is hoping to take home the mirrorball not only for himself, but also for his wife, who has been his rock throughout the whole journey.
"I would not be doing any of this if it were not for her, and I would not be doing it with any real purpose or meaning," he gushed. "She is my best friend, and from the moment I got the call saying there was a spot for me on the show, she did not hesitate. She said, 'Yes, even if it means you being in Los Angeles and us being in New York for three months, we know it is something you need to do and you were meant to do.'"
"So now I have to win for her, because if I don't, I don't think I am allowed home!" he joked. "I got to get the mirrorball, for the wife."
The season 29 finale of Dancing With the Stars kicks off Monday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. In the meantime, tune into Entertainment Tonight on Monday to hear more from the remaining contestants. Check your local listings here.