Jeannie Mai Is 'Very Thankful' for Fiancé Jeezy's 'Firmness' in 'Forcing' Her to Go to the ER

Natalie Stone
·3-min read

Three weeks ago, Jeannie Mai was in "near life-threatening" danger — and it was her fiancé Jeezy who pushed her to seek the medical attention she needed.

"He’s such a solid rock for me, but I definitely saw it in action as this was our first life or death situation," Mai, 41, tells PEOPLE about the rapper/philanthropist for this week's issue.

On Sunday, Nov. 1, Mai's journey on Dancing with the Stars came to a sudden halt when she was forced to withdraw from the competition. At the time, The Real co-host was juggling her busy schedule while battling strep throat. After visiting two doctors, who Mai says both "misdiagnosed me," she was referred to Dr. Shawn Nasseri, who discovered her parapharyngeal abscess and diagnosed her with epiglottitis.

RELATED: Jeannie Mai Opens Up About 'Near Life-Threatening' Abscess That Forced Her to Withdraw from DWTS

After being told that she couldn't compete on DWTS the following evening and had to undergo surgery, Mai "was devastated, mortified, upset. I was in tears and I actually fought the doctor to say, 'Can I just at least compete in this week's competition?' "

In disbelief at the time, Mai says that it was Jeezy who pushed her to go to the emergency room, where she underwent a successful operation.

"I am very thankful for J, my fiancé, because it was his firmness in, ‘No, you’re going to the ER. We’re not turning the other way,’ where I was like okay, I obliged," she says of her husband-to-be, who popped the question in March. "Because if it were just me, I wouldn’t have made my way to the ER. I would have made my way out to the parking and to go home to just, I don’t know, take something to suppress it to get through another day."

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With her mind focused on preparing for DWTS, Mai "was not planning to go to the ER, so I’m so thankful to [Jeezy] because not only did he immediately sense what I needed, but he was by my side the entire time of my surgery, he was there when I came out."

She adds, "He restored me with his words of encouragement on how great I’ve been so far so I didn’t feel like a complete letdown to myself. When you have to pull out for such a reason, you just feel like you gave up on your partner. And he called [pro partner] Brandon [Armstrong] for me. Brandon heard from him first to let him know my situation. He called all my family members, my entire family knew what was going on because of him because I wasn’t on my phone. He called my team to let them know what was happening so they could make plans. Everybody was in communication because of him and he just really helped me through it all."

RELATED: Jeannie Mai Says She's 'Underweight and Malnourished' After Emergency Surgery: 'I'm Really Frail'

Following a two-week recovery, Mai says she is now "96 percent better," and is grateful for both Dr. Nasseri and Jeezy's support.

While "Dr. Nasseri definitely gets the points for diagnosing me correctly to urge me into the ER," Mai says "Jeezy gets 100 percent of the credit for actually forcing me to go. I promise you I would’ve been dancing that Monday night."

RELATED: She's Back! Jeannie Mai Makes Her Return to The Real 3 Weeks After Emergency Surgery

The extended time of resting at home has also allowed her to dedicate more time to planning the lovebirds' nuptials.

"Well thankfully, because all I’ve been doing is sitting on the couch and watching The Real and DWTS, I’ve had time to plan the wedding," shares Mai. "So I’m definitely now putting more details together and J and I are really excited as we plan our big day."

The Real airs weekdays (check local listings).