Dancing with the Stars first foxtrotted onto television screens in 2005, and the program that pairs high-profile celebrities with professional ballroom dancers has found the winning formula to engage its viewers ever since. Each week, fans watch the celebs endure grueling practices to learn their numbers, which builds to the nail-biting live show where they have to pull it all off. The celebs’ backstories are also incorporated into the show, which builds a deeper connection for fans, and makes their victories even more meaningful.
And then there are the showmances. Throughout the series there have been dance partners who made fans wonder if their “partnership” was developing into something greater behind the scenes. As dancer Karina Smirnoff once told Fox News, the magic of an “incredible” romantic dance routine is getting the audience “to believe that romance will continue past the performance.” Fellow dancer Cheryl Burke put it more bluntly, telling the Allegedly with Theo Von & Matthew Cole podcast (via Inquisitr) that it feels like every pro-dancer on the show has “dated each other at one point.”
From flings to finding their significant other, this list takes a waltz through the many folks who fell in love on Dancing with the Stars.
Kym Johnson and Robert Herjavec's DWTS showmance sparked a family
Dancing with the Stars pro dancer Kym Johnson and Shark Tank‘s Robert Herjavec were partners on Season 20 when the world saw their first public kiss in the midst of performing their contemporary routine in 2015.
As revealed on Good Morning America, a month into their DWTS relationship Herjavec asked Johnson out to dinner and by the winter of 2016 the business man popped the question. Johnson shared the news on Instagram, writing, “I never thought a year ago I’d meet someone who would change my life completely ! I’m the luckiest girl in the world.” Meanwhile, Herjavec told People how he couldn’t “believe that a year after walking in a dance studio” that his life would change and gushed, “Kym is an incredible woman and I’m just so excited for what the future brings for us.” That future brought a wedding and the birth of their twins in 2018.
The family of four spent the spring of 2020 quarantined together, which Herjavec then told US Weekly, “The reason I fell in love with Kym … she’s just so much fun to be with and I just think we are having a lot of fun.”
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd waltzed down the aisle
Dancing with the Stars mirror ball-winning professional dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd were engaged in 2015. That year, Murgatroyd told People her first impression on Chmerkovskiy was that “he was arrogant,” but after spending time with him on the show she saw a different side. “I learned to like him because I found out he wasn’t that arrogant,” Murgatroyd told the outlet. “He was really generous to the entire cast, and our friendship grew and grew.” Murgatroyd joined DWTS on Season 13 in 2011, and during her second season on the show she began dating Maks in 2012.
Maksim’s brother, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, shared his approval on Instagram once they were engaged, writing, that Murgatroyd won Maksim’s “heart” and will be “his one and only for the rest of his life.” Val added, “You’re family now and that makes you my sister.” In 2017, the Maks and Peta welcomed their first child together and walked down the aisle in the summer. On Mother’s Day 2020, Maks posted a photo of his wife and son on Instagram, writing, “Happy Mother’s Day my love” and added, “Shai is a very lucky kid to call you mom and watching you two together makes me want [a] few more babies with you ASAP.”
It was love at first sight for DWTS dancer Jenna Johnson
Dancing with the Stars professional dancers Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Jenna Johnson were engaged in 2018 and married a year later. In 2014, Johnson joined DWTS on Season 18 as a pro dancer, and as revealed to Access, during her first rehearsal on the show there was a moment where she “saw this really cute Russian guy from across the room,” who was Chmerkovskiy. The Dancing with the Stars: Athletes winner noted, “Immediately, he captured my heart. I knew he was the one.” In 2019, Johnson told People, that on of the couple’s “first dates” was a secret outing to Disneyland. “He really is my Prince Charming,” she gushed.
Days after their wedding ceremony, Chmerkovskiy posted a photo of himself and his wife on Instagram, writing, “I really have no idea what I would do without you. He also thanked her for “being by [his] side” through “all” of his “stresses,” and added, “You strengthen me when I am weak, calm me when I’m in turmoil, you pick me up when I am headed south, I not only love, adore you… I appreciate you. You take an average man and let him dream beyond his potential.”
This couple is a testament that DWTS definitely makes dreams come true.
Artem Chigvintsev and Nikki Bella went from DWTS dance partners to parents
In 2017, pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev and WWE diva Nikki Bella hit the dance floor together on Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars. At the time, Bella was engaged to WWE superstar John Cena. However, after Cena and Bella broke off their engagement, Bella’s friendship with Chigvintsev turned into a relationship. On the E! reality show Total Bellas, in 2019, the wrestler of Mexican and Italian descent hinted she was dating Chigvintsev, saying, “I never in my life would have thought that, like, I would have a lot in common with a Russian” and she was “ready to explore new things and people.”
In January 2020, the former WWE Divas champion revealed on Instagram that the 2010 Strictly Come Dancing winner proposed to her in France back in November 2019. A month after the public announcement, Bella shared with ET that after she took a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant, she revealed it Chigvintsev by simply placing the pregnancy test on top of his bag. When July 2020 rolled around, Bella gave birth to their son, Matteo Artemovich Chigvintsev, and wrote in an Instagram post, “Our baby boy is here and we couldn’t be HAPPIER and more in LOVE! Everyone is safe and healthy.”
Sasha Farber proposed to Emma Slater live on DWTS
Pro dancer Sasha Farber made history on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. He took a moment on the show to get down on one knee and proposed to pro dancer Emma Slater, and she said “yes.” Afterwards, Slater told Good Morning America the proposal on national television was “perfect” because the moment could be seen by her family in England, Farber’s family in Australia, and their DWTS “family” present, as the two began dating when they joined the show in 2011.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Farber and Slater actually broke up in 2014, after which Slater told Glamour, “I’m always going to be his best friend,” and revealed the couple still lived together. They remained friends, and, after rekindling their relationship, Farber and Slater married in 2018. Slater captioned a wedding photo on Instagram, “Best day of my life!”
In 2020, Farber and Slater both became US citizens. Farber commemorated the occasion an Instagram, explaining how DWTS helped his dream come true when he tried out for the show and his “whole life changed.” He noted, “I proposed to my beautiful wife … got married, bought our first house, rescued a dog, made so many incredible memories and so many new friends I call my family here in America, and now I get to call America my home !!! I’m so grateful for DWTS for believing in me and giving me a chance.”
Dancing With The Stars introduced Cheryl Burke to her future husband
The back-to-back Dancing with the Stars champion (Season 2 and Season 3) Cheryl Burke married actor Matthew Lawrence in 2019. The couple met in 2006 when Matthew’s brother, Joey Lawrence, joined the cast during the show’s third cycle. The Boy Meets World actor reminisced about meeting Burke to People, dishing that when he was talking to Joey and his dance partner, Edyta Śliwińska, Burke’s head popped up behind them as she was eager to meet him. From there, Burke and Matthew dated in 2007, split in 2008 and reunited in 2017. Six months into their rekindled relationship Matthew told US Weekly, in 2018, “We have [a] really good companionship.”
Burke shared she’s been in abusive relationships since she was a teen through her early 20s and said the pattern stopped once she began dating Lawrence. “I honestly think at the time … I didn’t, clearly, love myself enough to think that I deserved to be with someone who was actually nice to me,” she shared on her YouTube channel. Transformed by the time they reunited, the couple got engaged in 2018 and married the following year. The former Dance Moms coach told US Weekly, in 2020, she wanted to have kids after the pandemic and Matthew would be “an amazing father.”
Not only did Burke meet her husband on DWTS, she met the person who helped her love herself: “[Matthew] is the complete opposite of everything bad about my past relationships.”
Keo Motsepe and Chrishell Stause kept their DWTS romance under wraps
Perhaps the biggest bombshell of Dancing with the Stars Season 29 was when pro dancer Keo Motsepe and actor Chrishell Stause revealed they were dating after the season ended. Stause joined the cast of DWTS in the fall of 2020 when she was paired up with Gleb Savchenko. It turns out there was a secret relationship going on between the soap opera starlet and pro dancer Motsepe, which they both confirmed on Instagram with pictures of each other cuddling up and Motsepe giving Stause a kiss on the cheek. Those posts saw the comment sections flooded with their DWTS family sending their love.
Pro dancer Sharna Burgess told US Weekly that folks asked her whether or not Motsepe and Stause were dating and she revealed she had no idea until their big announcement. After getting to know Stause, Burgess called her a “good match” for Motsepe and that she approved as the couple looked “stunning together.”
In December 2020, things only heated up for the DWTS flames who traveled together for a getaway in Cancùn, Mexico where they were spotted on a boat together (above) and spending time at a resort.
Alexis Ren had the time of her life with DWTS partner Alan Bersten
Season 27 of Dancing with the Stars had a little extra spice with an ongoing showmance that reached its climax on the season finale. Pro dancer Alan Bersten and model Alexis Ren shared a kiss after their last dance, in which Ren told her partner, “This has been the best experience in my life.” They scored a perfect ten from each of the three judges, but the two were more focused on each other as Bersten thanked Ren for “an incredible journey.” The eventual Season 28 mirror ball winner told E! that Ren met his parents during the finale and he was “excited” the show was over “because now [they] can just hang and do whatever [they] want.”
In December 2018, Ren and Bersten’s romance fizzled out about a month after their final ballroom dance, with a source telling People the two broke things off due to their long distance relationship. At the time, Ren was “in Japan working,” while and Bersten stayed in Los Angeles “rehearsing for the DWTS tour.” The source aslo noted, “They care about each other a lot” and “talk regularly.” The 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of the Year explained the breakup in an Instagram comment (via People), writing, “We’re focused on our careers and growing as individuals.” Ren added, “[Bersten is] an amazing person and I’m grateful he came into my life.”
Derek Hough and Shannon Elizabeth went from flames to friends
Dancing with the Stars winningest dancer — with six mirror ball wins — Derek Hough partnered up with actor Shannon Elizabeth on Season 6. The 2008 doublet hit on all cylinders outside of the ballroom as Elizabeth confirmed their relationship to People, but did shut down rumors that the two were engaged.
This relationship was one of the more publicized DWTS flames as they were constantly spotted on dates and being facetious with the media, like the time the two jokingly said they’d get hitched while they were in Las Vegas. The Derek-and-Shannon era all came to an end when both parties announced the split in August 2009. The Scary Movie actor mentioned on Twitter the two were on good terms, writing, “We love & care about each other very much & will remain friends & in each other’s lives.”
The two shared a love so deep that Elizabeth told Access in 2012 that they recently “had dinner together” and were still “friends,” despite breaking up three years prior.
Karina Smirnoff and Mario Lopez's DWTS chemistry couldn't last
In 2006, professional dancer Karina Smirnoff first joined Dancing With the Stars on Season 3 where she was paired with actor Mario Lopez. The duo made it all the way down to the finals and finished in second place. Sweeping through the competition, their chemistry was unparalleled and, as it turned out, their steamy showmance continued with a trip to Mexico after the season concluded.
The couple dated for two years before calling it quits in 2008. According to People, a rep for the five-time US National Champion dancer said in a statement, “The relationship wasn’t heading in the right direction.” The Saved By the Bell star said through a statement, “Karina and I have the utmost respect for each other. She is a phenomenal and talented woman. I support her always and feel blessed to have her in my life.”
Speaking with Fox News in 2017, the Season 13 mirror ball winner didn’t mention Lopez specifically, though she did say that she stays in contact with “most” of her DWTS partners, because through the experience they “become family.” The pair certainly didn’t walk down the aisle, however, their love went a little deeper than normal for the 18-time DWTS participant and that’s a special bond the two will share forever.
DWTS vets Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff were engaged
Before Maksim Chmerkovskiy married Peta Murgatroyd in 2017, he fell in love with Karina Smirnoff on Dancing with the Stars. Somewhere in between Season 6 and Season 7, the Broadway dancers dated for six months in 2008 before Chmerkovskiy popped the question on New Years Eve, according to People. Smirnoff even showed off the engagement ring to Hollywood.TV, admitting that she was “very happy.” Things took a turn, however, when the couple broke off the engagement the next year.
After the breakup Chmerkovskiy told People, “I feel completely betrayed. I’m done.” Smirnoff explained to Pop Eater (via Inquisitr) their relationship ended because of problems planning the wedding. As seen on The Insider, Smirnoff was actually pretty clueless on details of the wedding and joked that Chmerkovskiy told her, “He’s going to plan it and then just invite me to show up.”
In 2013, it appeared both Chmerkovskiy and Smirnoff made amends as the two performed in Broadway’s Forever Tango. That fall, Chmerkovskiy was a guest judge during the semi-finals round on Season 17 of DWTS, which Smirnoff was competing on, and Chmerkovskiy complimented his ex calling her the “top five best female dancers of all-time.” Smirnoff then ran up to Chmerkovskiy and kissed him on the cheek. Afterwards, she told US Weekly, “He had such a sweet comment, and I didn’t know what else to do,” and added, “I was pleasantly surprised … but Maks is always full of surprises.”
Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Amber Rose sprung up a behind-the-scenes fling
Model Amber Rose hit the ballroom floor in 2016 with partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. But it was Maksim’s brother, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, with whom Rose formed a behind-the-scenes showmance. That fall, Val and Amber were spotted at a Hollween party together. Amber later tweeted a photo of the two hugging amongst a group of friends, and, with rumors circulating there was more than a friendship brewing between them, the “Fame” singer finally confirmed they were an item when she tweeted a photo of the two all smiles, writing, “Him” followed by a heart emoji.
Not too long after the couple appeared on the “kiss cam” at a New York Knicks game, the couple split before Valentine’s Day in 2017. Amber explained, in a now deleted Instagram post (via E!), that they broke off the relationship after five months for their “own personal reasons” and they “still care about each other tremendously.” She noted, “Nobody got dumped and nothing we do over here is malicious its just how life works sometimes.” Valentin also explained on Instagram (via E!) that the two still had a special bond as Rose is “loyal af.” He added, “She’s an amazing woman that I feel very lucky to have gotten to know and love. An amazing mother, an awesome friend, a loving human period.”
Val and Amber weren’t the love of each other’s lives but they shared good times together.
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