Though it’s been more than two years since Patti LaBelle competed on Season 20 of Dancing With the Stars, the singer still fondly remembers her experience on the show — and remains friends with her dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, today! “We hang every now and then. He comes to my shows! He’s my friend… he’s a sweetheart,” the 73-year-old music icon gushed during an exclusive new interview with Closer Weekly.

During the sit-down, Patti — who is currently working with Hood to promote their fat-free dairy beverage, Calorie Countdown — also joked that training for DWTS was no easy feat. “Overall, it was torture! It was overall torture, but another thing I found out about myself doing that is — I had to be disciplined. And I had to listen to Artem and do everything he told me. I followed every instruction and then I would… say, ‘Look Artem, I think I got it.’ And he’d let me go home early,” she remembered.

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Patti and Artem on DWTS in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Dancing With the Stars is no joke! You are using parts of your body that you never knew you had. I was proud of myself for doing six weeks [of the competition]. I could have won the trophy, but I didn’t want to take it from anyone else! I was proud! Six weeks was good,” Patti continued. So, is the “Godmother of Soul” watching DWTS‘ current 25th season? “I always watch Artem. I watch it all, every time it comes on, I watch and I look for Artem. No matter who he’s with, [I’m always rooting] for Artem,” she told Closer. Too cute!

Though she’s busy watching Dancing With the Stars each Monday night, Patti’s career isn’t slowing down at all. In addition to working with Hood Calorie Countdown — “Being a diabetic, I use it for my coffee, my cereal, anything I used to use milk for — I love it!” she said of the product — she’s also starring on her own Cooking Channel series, Patti LaBelle’s Place, appearing on Queen Latifah’s new FOX show, Star, and promoting her newest Christmas album. We can’t wait to see what Patti does next!