Though it’s been weeks since Dancing With the Stars partners Maks Chmerkovskiy and Vanessa Lachey were embattled in a behind-the-scenes feud, the duo is still speaking out about their reported rift. On Sunday, Oct. 22, Maks, 37, claimed his relationship with Vanessa, 36, was “never bad” despite all the alleged drama. “It’s a tough show. And when you’re good enough to make it all the way, you go through that much more stuff,” he told People. “We’re a great couple. We’re doing our best. She’s giving me all the time that she should.”
Vanessa similarly provided an update on her partnership with Maks today. “Everything is great,” she told Us Weekly on Saturday, Oct. 21. The duo’s reported drama first began when Maks unexpectedly skipped the Monday, Oct. 2 DWTS episode due to a mysterious “personal issue.” One week later, Maks took to Instagram to praise Vanessa after their emotional “Most Memorable Year” performance. “Everything I ever want for my partners is literally what @VanessaLachey brought to the dance floor [this week]. Raw, unapologetic, real emotion expressed through a beautiful dance,” he began.
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Everything I ever want for my partners is literally what @vanessalachey has brought to the dance floor last night. Raw, unapologetic, real emotion expressed through a beautiful dance. Yesterday also marked the first time when I completely lost it right before the dance… I rarely cry but this was something different, something I’ve yet to experience watching someone else’s story. I’m proud of you partner! They can say what they want but you’re a star and I wouldn’t want to be on this rollercoaster with anyone but you! And we have so many more of these moments to share with each other, and everyone else who couldn’t stop their tears… #teamBabiesAndBallroom #DWTS #NeverADullMoment
“Yesterday also marked the first time when I completely lost it right before the dance… I rarely cry but this was something different, something I’ve yet to experience watching someone else’s story. I’m proud of you, partner! They can say what they want but you’re a star and I wouldn’t want to be on this rollercoaster with anyone but you! And we have so many more of these moments to share with each other, and everyone else who couldn’t stop their tears… #TeamBabiesAndBallroom #DWTS #NeverADullMoment,” Maks captioned a series of pics of himself and Vanessa performing on the Monday, Oct. 9 DWTS episode.
Vanessa similarly opened up about the tearful dance. “I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to do it,” Vanessa told Entertainment Tonight. But I know I got this guy literally standing there, and he’s got my back… I just looked over and grabbed on and was like, ‘We got this.'” Before their Week 4 performance, Maks and Vanessa were spotted sharing a warm embrace after a long day of rehearsals. The sweet snapshot came days after a DWTS insider claimed the pair had officially ended their rift. “Things are good. It’s water under the bridge. Things are returning to normal,” a source revealed to Us Weekly.
(Photo Credit: Splash)
“Maks has apologized to her and they both look forward to having a much more positive relationship moving forward,” the Us insider added. Fans were previously worried their rift was so bad it would cause Maks and Vanessa to have to switch partners for the rest of Season 25. However, a source recently told Entertainment Tonight that DWTS showrunners would never let a pro and celeb change their pair assignments just because of a fight. “The producers wouldn’t switch partners because two people aren’t getting along, it’s just par for the course. Drama is expected and part of the show. When you train with someone for so many hours so intensely, tensions can run high — for better or worse. In this case, the intensity led to bickering,” the insider revealed.
The source added that Maks is now in “full-blown crisis mode” after his unexpected show absence garnered so much media attention. “He realizes that he messed up. Vanessa isn’t afraid to stand up to him. She’s a very strong woman. He’s on thin ice so you can expect that he’ll be on his best behavior from here one out,” the insider said. Another source later confirmed both Maks and Vanessa will continue to be partners on the series. “He’s one of the most popular pros on Dancing with the Stars. Maks and Vanessa are continuing to dance together and hopefully they’ll make it all the way to the finals. At the end of the day, Maks is always a professional. This is his job. He just needed personal time away not related to Vanessa.”
Both Maks and Vanessa previously spoke out to set the record straight on their reported bickering. “New week! VEEEEERY excited for @DancingABC — new dance studio and new dance with @VanessaLachey!” Maks wrote via Twitter on Tuesday, Oct. 3. “Can’t wait to be back at the ballroom!” He later returned to the micro-blogging site to apologize to Vanessa for skipping the show. “As you are all aware, I had to leave the show last week to take care of some personal issues. I take full responsibility for my absence… and want to apologize to my partner Vanessa. We are both looking forward to dancing for our fans next week!”
Vanessa then told Us Weekly that she’s happy to be working with the pro for Season 25. “I just know that when I’m on set he’s my coach and I’m the student, so I listen a lot more and I don’t speak up as much because this is a field I don’t know. He’s trained me and taught me so many amazing wonderful new things just like any trainer would or teacher would. But at home I think I’m a lot more outspoken!” she said.
A DWTS insider previously told People that Maks and Vanessa were having a “big chemistry issue” on-set. “They both have big personalities and that’s not always the best recipe for a good partnership,” the source revealed. Another insider told Us Weekly that the duo has been “miserable” working together. “There is a lot of fighting going on behind the scenes. Their personalities are very similar so they disagree about everything. They refuse to give into one another. They’re playing nice for the cameras but both are miserable paired with each other,” the source said.
At the beginning of DWTS‘ Monday, Oct. 2 episode, host Erin Andrews revealed Maks was simply missing from the ballroom due to a “personal issue” and pro Alan Bersten — who was paired with singer Debbie Gibson but was voted off in week two — would be filling in for the veteran dancer. No further details on his absence were provided during the show. After Erin’s surprising announcement, fans were quick to take to Twitter to share their sadness over Maks missing the episode. “Ugh, I’m really nervous for what’s going on with Maks,” one person wrote on Twitter with another adding, “So what does personal issues mean?! Is he injured or it is he can’t be there? Anyway, I hope Maks is ok.”
Twitter user @putUincespence — who seems to run the DWTS fan site PureDWTS.com — provided further insider info about Maks’ situation at the time. “Source says nobody was told what Maks’ ‘personal issue’ is. Happened suddenly. I get the feeling it’s not the knee, though,” she wrote, referring to the pro dancer’s past Season 24 injury. She later tweeted, “[His stand-in pro], Alan, apparently only had about two hours to learn Vanessa’s dance. Sounds like whatever sidelined Maks is a very recent development.”
Before Vanessa and Alan performed their jazz routine sans Maks, Vanessa could be heard saying, “Maks can’t be here this week” in her rehearsal package. While the comment confused some fans who thought Maks’ absence was last-minute, DWTS blogger @putUincespence explained Vanessa’s video footage may have been filmed just before the episode aired. “I do think there were some editing tricks going on. I don’t think Maks being out was planned all along,” she wrote on Twitter. She added, “I’m not convinced that was all Alan’s choreography. That felt like a Maks routine that Alan was trying to make the best of at the eleventh hour.” We’re glad Maks and Vanessa were able to work out their differences and will continue competing together on the show!